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Ninja drops Twitch exclusivity, starts streaming on YouTube, Facebook, and more

Ninja on YouTube
(Image credit: Ninja / YouTube)
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One of the most popular streamers has decided that an exclusivity deal isn't enough. Tyler "Ninja" Blevins has dropped his contract with Twitch and plans to stream on all major platforms at the same time.

After seemingly (opens in new tab) staging a sudden hiatus last week, Ninja has returned to announce that he won't sign a deal with Twitch or YouTube, but will instead stream simultaneously on both of them, as well as TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

"When you sign an exclusivity contract, it's usually a big fat check that's tied to it. That's guaranteed money, that's sustainability, that's comfortable. But right now, I'm basically on my own," he said while playing Fortnite on his first multi-stream today (opens in new tab).

"Technically, people like Twitch and YouTube and Facebook, they don't want people to stream on another platform, they don't want to lose viewers to another platform. In a perfect world, all three of the companies want you exclusive there," he said.

Last week, after teasing his hiatus and changing his social media profiles to say "User Not Found," Ninja's Twitch partner checkmark disappeared. Now that he's back, presumably he's no longer bound by the "multi-year" contract he signed (opens in new tab) with the platform in 2020. In order to stream everywhere, he's opted out of allowing subscriptions entirely on the platform as a Twitch affiliate. Twitch released the restrictions (opens in new tab) on partners streaming to TikTok and Instagram last month, but they're still not allowed to broadcast on YouTube or Facebook—its two biggest rivals. And affiliates aren't allowed to multi-stream at all.

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At the time of this writing, around two hours into his first stream, Ninja has around 13,000 viewers on Twitch, 7,000 on YouTube, 13,400 on TikTok, and 1,000 on Facebook. He's able to read chat from all platforms at once, which a bot in his Twitch chat suggests is via a multi-stream service called Restream (opens in new tab).

By opting out of Twitch's particular grind for viewership and going wide, Ninja is one of the first well-known streamers to shed all exclusivity deals to go live on all platforms. According to a leak of Twitch's internal records (opens in new tab) last year, most Twitch streamers don't make enough money to have that luxury and are stuck searching for ways to grow among the other eight million active channels (according to TwitchTracker (opens in new tab)). Ninja, however, is big enough on his own, with major publishers reportedly (opens in new tab) paying him a million dollars to play their game, that he doesn't need to sign any contracts.

Pokimane, another extremely successful Twitch streamer, made a similar decision to stop streaming full-time on Twitch last week (opens in new tab). She announced that she will focus on non-gaming content outside of Twitch, citing the constant chase for relevancy on the platform as the reason why. "I feel like other platforms fit into my lifestyle nowadays a little bit better," she said.

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.