Bleats

Fortnite's Biggest Star 'Ninja' Ditching Twitch Is Like Marvel Breaking Up With Disney

It's a big move from Ninja and it's a great one for streaming.

We’ve had big sporting moves like Michael Jordan leaving basketball for baseball, Roger Federer leaving Nike for Uniqlo, and LeBron James leaving Cleveland for Miami Heat. Now we have a momentous occasion in the video game streaming world that ranks up there with those aforementioned switches: Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is leaving Twitch to stream exclusively on the competing platform, Mixer.

This is a huge move for the Fortnite streamer as Twitch was where he first made his mark on the video game world.

Starting as a professional Halo 3 player in 2009, Ninja turned to streaming in 2011 and rose quickly up the ranks when he jumped on the Fortnite train. Soon he was in demand everywhere, even in areas outside of gaming. When you’re streaming Fortnite with Drake, chatting to Ellen DeGeneres and making it on Time’s most influential people of 2019 list, you’re doing something right.

The knee-jerk reaction towards Ninja leaving the platform that made his career for a much smaller, competing platform is that it seems super risky.

But the reality is that his move is great for the streaming space.

Ninja is one of the most popular streamers on Twitch, which holds a firm monopoly over the streaming scene with 72.2% of total live stream time spent on the platform compared to Mixer’s 3%. But those numbers will be change dramatically over the coming months when Ninja gets going on Mixer and his massive fanbase migrate over from Twitch.

This will make a dent in Twitch’s monopoly as fans and creators will now be looking to Mixer as an alternative, which will provide some much needed competition and innovation in the space. It will also bring exposure to creators already on Mixer who otherwise wouldn’t have gotten much attention had Ninja stayed on Twitch.

Think of this whole Ninja/Twitch/Mixer situation like if Marvel broke up with Disney and did its own thing independently.

Marvel’s brand and fanbase is large enough that it can be successful on its own, Disney’s massive monopoly on the film market would be smaller thus providing much needed competition, which in turn will foster greater creativity and exposure for other filmmakers and studios who will want to get a piece of the more evenly spread pie.

How this will all pan out remains to be seen but Ninja promises that his streams will be “exactly the same” as they were on Twitch, meaning he’ll still be on the Fortnite train, at least for now.

But seeing as how Mixer is owned by Microsoft, who will be releasing a new Halo game soon, perhaps we could see Ninja swap games at some point. He talked about going back to his roots with the move away from Twitch and what better way to do that than to re-visit the franchise that got him into the streaming scene in the first place.

Rockstar Used Right-Wing Outrage To Trick You All Into Buying Grand Theft Auto

Might as well lean into the outrage Grand Theft Auto was going to cause anyway.

Ever since the Grand Theft Auto series came into existence in 1997, it has quickly become one of the most successful video game franchises of all-time thanks to its pioneering approach to open-world gaming, freedom to kill nearly anyone you want, and the whole novelty of stealing cars and running over prostitutes with them.

Now this sort of thing would barely make a ripple in the video game world these days, but it was a huge deal back in 1997 and controversial gameplay elements like those could potentially sink a game before it had even come out.

After finishing work on the very first Grand Theft Auto back in 1997, Rockstar Games – which was known back then as BMG Interactive – were left with the dilemma of trying to market it. How on earth were they going to sell a game that was guaranteed to stir outrage due to all the violence and crime that’s in it?

BMG decided to hire notorious publicist, Max Clifford, to market GTA and it was an unheard of move at the time as he was known a s**t-stirrer in the music business. Now the dude is an awful, awful human being on so many levels (which is a story for another time) but his idea to sell GTA was genius.

His plan was simple: embrace the game’s criminality in all its filthy glory,lean right into the outrage and get the right people talking about it. Literally.

Clifford fed stories about an “utterly despicable” game that was developed in Scotland into the ear of some right-wing lord and encouraged them to speak out about it. And lo and behold, his plan worked despite some understandable skepticism from BMG.

The conservative-leaning Lord Campbell of Croy ended up speaking publicly about Grand Theft Auto on May 20, 1997, in the House of Lords in the UK. He tried to warn everyone that the game was filled with awful things like hit and runs, carjacking and police chases, saying that “there would be nothing to stop children from buying it.”

Next thing you know, headlines about this “deplorable” game started coming up everywhere, particularly in right-wing media. Soon every morally outraged parent and activist were clutching at their pearl necklaces over Grand Theft Auto, which at this point in the timeline hadn’t even come out yet.

To keep the controversy fire blazing, Clifford and BMG launched a then-unusual campaign that included radio ads that included excerpts of Lord Campbell denouncing the game, leaving fake parking tickets on cars during video game conventions and promotional posters promising, ahem: “Murder, drug busts, hijacking, smuggling, bank raids, police bribes, road rage, bribery, extortion, armed robbery, unlawful carnal knowledge, adultery, pimping, petty thievery, and double parking!


According to WIRED, the campaign got to the point where a writer for Grand Theft Auto, Brian Baglow, got into a minor car accident and Clifford had bright idea of milking the ever living hell out of it for the game by planting sensational headlines like “Sick car game boss was banned from driving!” in the news.

All this manufactured right-wing outrage was ridiculous to say the least but Clifford’s campaign was deceptively brilliant as it reached “12 to 13 million people” and Grand Theft Auto ended up welling ridiculously well (for 1997). The series took off like a freight train since that 1997 campaign and hasn’t looked back since. The latest title in the franchise, Grand Theft Auto V, has sold over 100 million copies and is the third best-selling game of all time.

So the moral of this story is, uh, if you want to sell an excessively violent game like Grand Theft Auto, get right-wingers to do it for you by making them super mad. But hey, whatever works.

If TV And Social Media Are Making You Sad, Video Games May Be The Answer For You

Insta stalk less, game more.

Whether it’s a TV, computer monitor, or your phone, most of us stare at a screen of sorts every day. So it’s probably no surprise that all this digital screen time is wrecking havoc on our mental health, particularly among teenagers.

Researchers at Montreal’s Sainte-Justine Hospital conducted a four-year study into the link between depression and exposure to different types of screen time among adolescents studying the media consumption of over 3,800 young people from 31 Montreal schools.

The results don’t paint the rosiest of filtered pictures as the researchers found that those who consumed social media and TV the most had an increase in “depressive symptoms.”

Nope.

The study found that young people who were on social media platforms like Instagram had increased symptoms of depression because they’re likely to compare themselves to all the glitz and glamour being promoted in their feeds.

Lead researcher Patricia Conrod says that social media “exposes young people to images that promote upward social comparison and makes them feel bad about themselves” and constant exposure to those platforms are “echo chambers” that “promote or reinforce” depression.

While social media and TV was found to do a number on young people’s mental health, the results interestingly showed that playing video games didn’t have the same effect.

In fact, the opposite effect is more likely as the study suggested that the average gamer wasn’t the stereotypical basement-dwelling loner but in fact a functioning human being who enjoyed playing games with others online or in person.

Nothing negative to be found here.

That being said, it’s still early days into this subject. Conrad’s colleague, Elroy Boers, says that the topic isn’t widely studied despite it being very common among young people but the results of the study is an indication that more research is needed, saying that the current level of knowledge is akin to what we knew about smoking in the 1970s.

“I would almost compare it to smoking in the 1970s, where the very negative effects are still relatively unknown,” said Boers.

“What we found is quite worrisome and needs further investigation.”

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