Since internet crashing became a regular occurrence when big events happen, we wondered what will be the thing that will crash the internet? Epic Games decided to take Fortnite, their flagship, money-making property, offline in the most explosive way possible. Rockets and black holes. Everyone watched but it did not crash the internet. That means we can cross Fortnite off the list of potential phenomenons that could bring the ‘net to its knees.
However, it now holds the biggest moment in all livestreaming and perhaps all gaming. Over 5 million people watched the end of Season X between Twitch and YouTube alone. It’s sufficient to say Fortnite definitively owns the Battle Royale genre and despite the success of Apex Legends introducing their new map and season, the most attention I saw its event receive was over 300K.
Personally, I prefer Apex Legends but there’s no question, Fortnite is king.
Interestingly, this season ending event revealed some glaring issues. Where was Ninja and, right along with that, where was Mixer? And what happened to Twitch that YouTube could amass 4.1 million views?
Let’s start with Ninja. I recently traveled to Hawai’i for my wedding anniversary. This was just before Borderlands 3 launched; a game I planned on streaming when it launched because of my own fondness for the franchise and the community I wanted to build. Note this: I took the vacation before the game launched. Pretty soon, Gearbox will release Bloody Harvest, a limited-time Halloween-themed event. Gearbox has not revealed the official start date, just a window of sometime near the end of October, but I am making sure I am available.
I bring this up because Ninja is on vacation. Like, right now. Oh, he’s tweeting. He’s aware of what’s happening.
The Fortnite chapter 2 trailer has been leaked... and it looks beautiful! Cannot wait to jump in and create some more amazing memories <3
— Ninja (@Ninja) October 14, 2019
But he’s not streaming. He missed this event. At least the start of it.
You know where all of his fans were? Not on his channel. Fortnite seasonal changes have worked like clockwork. Every month, something will change. Season X was not going to be any different and yet, at Fortnite’s most epic moment, Fortnite’s biggest streamer was nowhere to be found.
From a business perspective, this is a colossal whiff. No one could predict the magnitude of this event but he knew it was coming. He had to be ready; he had to be there. His viewers are now with people he co-op’s with and potentially giving those streamers their subscriptions, cheers, or anything else. We know Ninja understands as well as anyone that any amount of absence leads to lost money but this will hurt. He’ll live with it though and judging by the responses to his tweets, his loyal fans have no problem waiting for him. It’s great he has that kind of clout with that many people.
But there is the other element to remember here. We still don’t know how much Microsoft paid Ninja to move over to Mixer. We also don’t know how much money Ninja makes on endorsements. We only know Ninja makes a boatload of money. Perhaps he makes so much money from those avenues he doesn’t need the amount of subs and cheers streaming provides at this point so he can suffer this kind of loss and be okay.
I’m pretty sure he’s still self-talking himself that being on this vacation with his wife is more important. And let me be clear: it is. But there’s got to be a little bit of kicking himself. Just a little.
Naturally if we talk about Ninja we have to talk about Mixer. The powers that be at Mixer must be furious with themselves. Here you have the biggest Fortnite streamer, arguably the biggest streamer and he’s not available to stream the biggest event in Fortnite, perhaps in all games streaming. Epic fail.
You would never know it but I was one of the many people who understood Ninja moving to Mixer was literally going to do nothing for the platform long-term. Small streamers thought being on the platform would create more potential to be seen and bigger streamers would be tempted to move to Mixer along with Ninja. It was made clear very quickly that unless Mixer also paid those big streamers to move, they weren’t going to budge from Twitch. It took a little bit longer for small streamers to realize more people watching Ninja playing Fortnite did not mean more people watching them playing Yooka-Laylee. They reverted back to Twitch.
What Mixer hasn’t demonstrated understanding of is that the reason why more people are still not utilizing Mixer (which I do think is a very, very good platform) is because there’s nothing happening there outside of Ninja. When Ninja’s not streaming, what is there to watch that I can’t get on Twitch? Nothing. Literally nothing. Not even another big Fortnite streamer.
Combine that consistent struggle with Ninja not available to stream the biggest Fortnite moment and you have a legitimately good streaming platform with a total of thir-ty-se-ven viewers as the event is happening. Yes. 37, according to Rod Breslau when he tweeted out the numbers.
Fortnite’s ‘The End’ event will go down as the most watched gaming event in history for western audiences
4.5M+ on YouTube
1.5M+ on Twitch
1M+ on Twitter
and 37 people on Mixer
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) October 13, 2019
I tried to verify if that was 37 or 37K but there is no instance of Rod correcting himself. It is truly 37. That is an absolute travesty.
Mixer has a lot of work to do.
So why did Twitch lose? The same reason Ninja lost. Availability. As the event happened, Twitch went down. The leading streaming platform, one that has held millions of viewers of various Esports events and owned by Amazon, was not available for a period of time because of too much traffic. You know what platform could handle that kind of traffic? YouTube. They benefited to the count of 4.5 million viewers compared to Twitch’s 1.5 million.
We know what that means for Twitch. Nobody spending to cheer bits. Content creators are losing out on money. Even if those streamers switched to YouTube to keep streaming, there’s less fun for chat to have since the same emotes and other Twitch-specific perks aren’t available. On a less concerning scale, Twitch can’t even brag that they held some huge numbers for an event. That honor is now YouTube’s.
As of writing, YouTube still holds the top numbers of viewers with 912K while Twitch has 472K.
This is not spelling the end for Twitch or some changing of the guard. League of Legends is still mostly watched on Twitch, for example. This only demonstrates there’s holes in Twitch’s armor. Thankfully for Twitch, they’re holes that can be plugged so long as Amazon can fork over a little bit of that money. Don’t worry A to Z. Twitch can pay you back.