Game Theory: Was Ninja Worth It? (The Ninja Mixer Deal)


*News reporters chatting* *Tapping mic* I know this might come as a surprise to a lot of you.. But, as of today… I’m going to be streaming EXCLUSIVELY.. On Blender. *Audience protests* I will now take questions from the audience! Umm.. Yes! You with the face! Guy: Isn’t Blender used for
making…3D modeling animations and not.. You know.. Live streaming? MatPat: Blender, Mixer. I don’t know, they’re all kitchen utensils! Heck! I’d live stream on a NUTRIBULLET if they paid me enough! *Audience laughs* Uh. Next question.. Uhhhh.. You! Outdated meme guy! Outdated meme guy: Uh, yes! Uh… What-What does this do for your future theories? Still as cringy as ever. Meme guy: Wouldn’t have it any other “da-wae”. *smacking sound with dab* Dab to you too sir. *same effect with dab* huh… uh, who else? uh- you! refrigerator full of cash! *refrigerator sounds* Oh audible, you really ARE the coolest audiobooks in town! *Matpad starts laughing and the crowd joins immediately* Thanks for sponsoring us, I’ve got time for one more question, here… uuuuh… You! Blatant celebrity cameo. What’s jabelling jabels? How do you feel about that new Mixer-Ninja deal? IT WAS A MISTAKE! [gasp] Hold on, hold on. Sit down. Lemme explain. [game theory intro music plays] HELLO INTERNET Weeelcome to Game theooory Proud to announce that we’re still here on Youtube. ALLRITE, so at this point we have all heard the news, right? Tyler “Ninja” Blevins has moved from being Twitch’s largest streamers, to exclsively streaming over on Mixer. A streaming competitor to Twitch, that’s owned by Microsoft One that up until this point in history has gone largely overlooked by the gaming community. Now, why is this such a big deal? Well..there’s a lot of reasons in fact. Ninja for the better part of the last two years has been one of, if not THE most famous gamer in the world. I mean, sure, there have been people who surpassed him in the numbers and yeah, objectively speaking there are people who are better players than him. But in the mainstream normie public eye who coudn’t tell a Dr Lupo from a Dr Disrespect If you ask them to name a famous It’s most likely gonna be Ninja He had the good luck of being the top player of Fortnite at the perfect time. when it first started to blow up. As that game shattered all performance numbers and started getting mainstream attention Ninja was right there in the same breath The poster boy for both Fortnite and its primary viewing platform Twitch It was the perfect storm A highly addictive e-sports ready game A streaming service that was already making waves and getting supercharged by it’s parent company Amazon And a brand safe face to front man the whole thing Well, mostly brand safe From there PR did the rest As celebrities wanted to get in on the Fortnite game, they were hooked up with Ninja When ESPN magazine wanted to feature a e-sports player on it’s cover Ninja became the first When Muppets wanted to present at the Video Game Awards, they were there with Ninja Don’t know why but it was a thing that happened Ninja: This award is for the best game made outside of the Triple A system Pepe – Muppet: Did you say Triple A? Ninja: Yeah.. Triple A Pepe – Muppet: It’s amazing what they do with our batteries these days *demonic Ninja laugh* After EIGHT years of streaming, grinding away It was finally Ninja’s time to shine Skyrocketing to 14 million followers on Twitch Becoming THE most followed creator on the plattform So, to walk away from all of that for him to be scooped up by a relatively unkown new plattform Well, it’s a move unlike practically anything seen in the digital landscape thus far. And so I, and I think a lot of the internet want to know: Was this a good decision? Are the millions that Mixer paid to get exclusive rights to Ninja worth it? Is it smart for a creator to just walk away from a fanbase of 14 million people? Are we all aboard the Mixer train now? WHOOT WHOOT Honestly I wouldn’t be covering this if the answer only mattered to like one mega streamer No, what this all really boils down to is the relationship between a platform and its users How places like YouTube, Twitch and yes, even Mixer foster communities of viewers and creators I think that there were mistakes made in
this whole mixer ninja deal so pay attention mixer here’s a load of free
advice heck you don’t even need to pay me for it in answering the question was
this a good decision we have to was this a good decision for whom for
who whom whom let’s start with the oof great decision on his part and that’s
without me even knowing or even speculating what mixer pay damn can I
make you guess based in my experience the deals that we ourselves have seen
brand context and relative valuation of you counts absolutely I can but here’s
the thing none of it matters there’s something more than dollar figures at
play here the thing ninja games out of this is stability stability is a luxury
that no online creator has when you start a channel on YouTube or twitch or
wherever you need to remember that you’re building your house on someone
else’s land and that at any point they could just repossess that land shifting
algorithms Moran safety regulations you name it that is them reclaiming the land
that your house is built on and that’s all before you even get into the
fluctuations of ad rates over the course of a year you know how every November
and December people pump out a bunch more of their best videos and then in
January they basically take the month off it’s all because ad rates ad rates
plummet in January and are at their highest in November in December the
value you get out of a single view depends on everything the time of year
what vertical you work on the title of the frickin video that is how unstable
everything is here but twitch is even more volatile because your primary
revenue isn’t dependent on brands who just are spending bunches of money on
YouTube as a platform instead it’s dependent on fans a couple thousand fans
paying you and specifically you and fans can be finicky in the past ninja has
gone on record saying that taking two days off of his streaming schedule cost
him forty thousand paying subscribers which at minimum means him losing a
hundred thousand dollars of monthly revenue just like that if that doesn’t
feel like instability I don’t know what is so in order to maintain a level of
success he had on twitch he was practically chained to his desk playing
the same game over and over and over again for 12 hours a day
but even then there’s no guarantees it’s no secret that ninjas twitch staffs were
going down according to statistics from twitch tracker calm April of 2018 was
his peak with his streams netting on average 125,000 concurrent viewers fast
for it exactly one year to April of 2019 and that number was a fourth of that
with each dream only netting him 36,000 viewers on average but again on twitch
your paycheck ultimately hinges on dem paid subscriptions and as you can
imagine them subscriptions were also falling away again using data pulled by
twitch tracker we see that March of 2018 was his peak 285,000 paying subscribers
on his channel it is a huge number for just one guy I mean for comparison the
WWE you know the company that pretty much owns the sport of wrestling Hulk
Hogan style I’m gonna throw you in a trash can
brother they have 1.2 million subscribers to their service so for
ninja to be pulling 1/4 of that pretty darn impressive but then again fast
forward one year to March of 2019 you’ve got yourself a number that is down to a
mere 20,000 from two hundred and eighty-five thousand a year later to 20
I mean it’s still great don’t get me wrong 20,000 people paying to watch your
stuff that’s amazing that’s less than 1/10 of what it was just 12 months prior
that is a huge blow to your monthly income add to that the declining
popularity and relevance of for tonight as well as ninjas challenge of getting
his audience to care about any other game other than for tonight that he
happened to be playing and the writing is on the wall but that mixer comes
around with a guaranteed paycheck for some undisclosed seven or eight figure
amount presumably over the course of a few years and you’ve got yourself
stability stability that truly can allow ninja to get back in touch with my roots
I mean this deal should set him up to retire or work for fun for the rest of
his life if he’s smart and wasn’t already set from that unbelievably great
2018 that he had heck if he or his team are smart and good at negotiating they
probably should have also had a deal that gives them a percent of the
earnings from all other creators who come on to mixer during the month
following his switch because they came over to mixer probably because of him
over on the consulting side of what we do we’ve been talking to a lot of
success full creators lately on exit strategies
how to successfully get off the treadmill of content that is digital
video YouTube Twitter otherwise and well in engines case the numbers were sagging
and he sold high exactly what he should have done so ninjas decision I mean
maybe I would have suggested thanking the fans a bit more than he did but
still definitely the right choice for mixer though the situation is a lot more
nuanced I mean after all they’re a part of Microsoft a multinational corporation
they’re not just a single streamer who can retire after a couple years so the
interests there are gonna be a lot more complicated as far as mixer is concerned
their goals are the same as any video platform build a community of users both
viewers and creators and then find a way to monetize that community be
accommodation of advertisers and fan donations now whether mixer is getting
those things is something I’m about to talk about a little bit later but there
is one thing we know right off the bat from this move mixer exists one of
mixers biggest hurdles since launching back in 2016 has been making their
presence known in a way that gamers and the rest of the world care about as
someone who’s been attending III since 2013 the biggest gaming expo in the
country I’ve certainly seen that mixers been there for the last three years with
a prominent and not altogether exciting booth I always pass by it in the hallway
and I’m like there’s mix oh my gosh Nintendo has a rock wall this year and
that’s pretty much it meanwhile on the same expo floor is e3 twitch has a
massive purple behemoth of a booth in the middle of the action where they’re
featuring clips from their biggest streamers like ninja but now that story
has suddenly flipped on its head looking for Google Trends results for mixer over
the last 30 days it’s clear that ninjas decision to jump platforms caused a
major spike in search ability and almost double the ongoing search traffic for
mixer moving forward you remember by Google Stadium video where I talked
about YouTube killing violent video games and I spoke a lot about the power
of earned media well everyone covering ninjas move here
that is all earned media for mixer so at least for now twice the number of people
are looking for mixer than they were free ninja pretty good boost using some
comparison search traffic between mixer and twitch it’s also clear that this was
a smart move for mixer to poach someone who is primarily on twitch rather than
on YouTube compare twitch to mixer and you can see that in terms of publicity
and search traffic mixer has been within striking distance of twitch for quite a
long time compare the two of those to YouTube though and it’s clear that mixer
doesn’t even have chance to peak above Google’s Juggernog
even when YouTube isn’t considered a great platform for live-streaming by
grabbing up ninja from twitch though mixer actually spiked above twitch and
search for the first time ever thereby forcing people who thought of twitch as
the only viable streaming site to get to no mixer – and while search results just
look like lines on a graph they translate to an industry of shifting
priorities out in the real world I mean most people don’t see a lot of the
behind the scenes stuff that happens around YouTube talent at this point
there are full teams of managers agents and marketers who are all trying to get
their creators into the next big thing so when ninja made the jumped mixer
managers and agents heading up gaming creators as well as the creators
themselves all started saying you know I probably should have a contacted mixer I
should make sure I know what’s going on over there well what we hear as
anecdotal comes through the consulting that we do we do know that those
conversations are starting now and those conversations happening is just huge for
a platform that didn’t exist in the public side just like a couple months
ago all of a sudden you are at the table you are in contention you have a shot
you have a ton of important people in the gaming and digital video industry
reaching out to your platform because you mixer might just be the next big
thing well anecdotes are buzzy though what
really tickles my theory bone is hard data sites like Twitter tracker have won
some fascinating comparisons about ninjas first couple of weeks on mixer
have shown not just how he’s doing but how the platform is benefiting from him
being there over the past couple weeks ninjas streams on mixer have accounted
for thirty two point one percent of all viewership on mixer which means that he
is single-handedly holding up a third of that platform remember that number
because I’m gonna go back to it in a minute but for now suffice it to say
that that is a huge percentage of views but smart witch tracker reports after
ninjas initial streams about 6 percent of his audience counting for a little
less than 2% of the total site’s traffic stuck around to watch a few other
streamers meaning that the rest of the platform has indeed gotten a little bit
of extra viewership spillover from ninja I mean 6 percent may not seem like all
that much it actually comes out to be about a hundred and thirty thousand
people total not breaking the bank or anything but that number could be huge
if those people do indeed come back on a regular basis and expose themselves to
more mix their creators and if that 130,000
people talk to their friends about how much they like what they see that
percentage can compound with time clearly then mixer has received a huge
boost in PR a direct viewership increase from ninja and an incremental gain from
viewers sticking around on the platform so ninja cashes out and mixer as
suddenly in the mix so to speak thereby making it a win all around right no
absolutely not I firmly believe that mixer has made the wrong move here that
the tens of millions that they put into ninja were ultimately flushed down the
drain put through the shredder like just a really dumb dumb silly short-sighted
move but to truly understand why we need to go into the economics of digital
platforms and look at the fundamentals of what makes an online community work
and that my friends is a long enough discussion to merit a second episode
trust me if you’re a creator or have ever wanted to become a creator you’re
gonna want to watch that one before you hop over to become a twitcher or
youtuber or facebook ER or mixer or linked influencer yeah that’s a real
thing a linked in fluent sir so why is Oh hey! Fridge full of sponsorship cash, good to see again. What are you doing here? *demonic void* Oh yeah, that’s right! It *is* time for your promo, thanks for reminding me! Not all of us are fortunate enough to be paid millions of dollars by energy drinks and thanks for being here have you know Yura
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remember it’s all just a theory a gaming platform theory thanks for watching

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