A Fortnite superstar, known as the 'Michael Jordan' of gaming has made a bold move which could see wide-ranging consequences for the rapidly growing Esports industry.
Tyler 'Ninja' Blevins, who has earned millions broadcasting himself playing Fortnite and other video games online, announced on Thursday that he has left live-streaming giant Twitch and is taking his content to Microsoft's Mixer platform.
The shock move draws an end to his hugely profitable partnership with the Amazon-owned platform, where he is currently the most followed gamer with over 14 million followers.
"I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunities Twitch has provided me," Blevins told The Associated Press. "But as I looked at the next step in my career, I wanted to be somewhere that empowered me to push the boundaries of gaming and achieve bigger goals within the industry. Mixer provides me with more ways to connect with my community.
"I love what I do and will still be actively streaming and continuing to interact with my fans. With Mixer, I get to further engage with the tools on the platform, which I am excited about."
Blevins is set to host his first Mixer livestream today from Lollapalooza, a four-day music festival in Chicago.
Although already inviting Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf — the 16-year-old who earned $3 million last week for winning the Fortnite World Cup — to join him for the livestream, the 28-year-old said he will not actively recruit other gamers to leave Twitch.
"I want my friends to make their own decisions for what platforms they choose to play on," Blevins said. "With that being said, I will welcome anyone with open arms who wants to join me."
Blevins' announcement could prove a game-changer for Mixer, with the Microsoft platform having struggled to match the popularity of Twitch since it's launch in 2016.
Microsoft reported it had 10 million monthly users last year, a stark contrast to Twitch's 100 million.
But the tables could soon turn with Microsoft Mixer ranking as the top trending Twitter topic across the US just 40 minutes after Blevins posted about the switch.
It's no hard-feelings from Twitch, however, who wished Blevins all the best in a statement to AP.
"We've loved watching Ninja on Twitch over the years and are proud of all that he's accomplished for himself and his family, and the gaming community," the statement read. "We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours."
Blevins first emerged on the gaming scene in 2011 before becoming the face of Fortnite last year.
He often broadcasts with other pro gamers, including friends Ben "DrLupo" Lupo, Jack "Courage" Dunlop and Tim "TimtheTatman".