What does Ninja’s YouTube broadcast mean for the streaming industry?

He peaked at more than 165,000 viewers.

Screengrab via Ninja

Ninja streamed on YouTube Gaming yesterday for the first time following the collapse of Mixer, where he previously had an exclusive contract. And the hype surrounding the broadcast resulted in a stronger audience than the crazy-haired gamer ever had on Mixer.

Without much of any notice, Ninja posted on Twitter that he’d be live on YouTube yesterday afternoon. Despite the lack of public scheduling, his 97-minute broadcast averaged 118,384 viewers, according to Stream Hatchet data.

Peaking at around 165,000 viewers, Ninja’s broadcast had nearly double the peak viewership of any stream he ever did on Mixer. In a tweet yesterday, Stream Hatchet noted that his previous peak on Mixer was only 93,000.

Obviously, all of those numbers are a far cry from some of the ridiculously strong peak viewership numbers that the headband-wearing content creator put up when Fortnite was in its prime on Twitch in 2018. But the increased buzz Ninja created on a moment’s notice on YouTube shows that the streamer still has options. 

Despite streaming on YouTube, Ninja is yet to announce any sort of official partnership with a new platform. He’s reportedly still working on determining where he’ll ultimately end up now that his time on Mixer is done.

Though Twitch is by far the most dominant platform, Ninja has shown before that his brand doesn’t need Twitch to survive. While his viewership struggled on Mixer, his sponsorship deals and brand expansion did not. 

But if you’re looking at Ninja’s 165,000 viewers from yesterday and think that he could do well on YouTube compared to Twitch, you might want to take a step back.

Prior to leaving Twitch for Mixer in 2019, Ninja had four different Twitch broadcasts on his personal channel that had higher viewership peaks than his stream yesterday did—and that was after he was on the decline from a year when he shattered all of the personal stream records for viewership on Twitch.

In his 2018 prime, Ninja was putting up 165,000 viewer days on an almost weekly basis. There were 40 different streams of his in 2018 that had a peak over 165,000. In fact, there were eight times that year in which Ninja averaged more than 165,000 viewers.

Anyone suggesting that Ninja’s upcoming decision could have anything to do with the amount of viewers he gets during a YouTube stream is ignoring the reason why he made the move to Mixer in the first place.

Whether he made the move strictly because Mixer was offering him the most guaranteed money or because he was simply tired of the streaming grind and wanted to focus more on his overall brand, viewership wasn’t the reason he went to Mixer.

While Ninja’s decision to leave Twitch for Mixer was made nearly one year ago, it’s difficult to say that any viewership stats would influence his decision to sign with one platform over another. They didn’t then and they likely won’t now.

If they did, he likely never would have left Twitch—and he certainly wouldn’t be foaming at the mouth to sign with YouTube after one moderately-successful stream.

Where Ninja will ultimately end up streaming is still a mystery. But if there’s anything we’ve learned from his dealings over the past year, viewership statistics aren’t at the top of his list of priorities for finding a new home.