Ninja’s exclusivity deal with Mixer reportedly cost Microsoft “between $20 and $30 million”

Laurent Giret

The competition between game streaming platforms reached new heights last year, with Microsoft surprising everyone by getting a Twitch superstar to stream exclusively on the company’s nascent Mixer platform. Money remains quite a taboo subject in this new industry, but a new report from CNN sheds some light on Ninja’s exclusivity deal with Mixer, which has since been followed by other big moves from Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook.

Mixer is paying Ninja between $20 and $30 million for the multi-year deal, according to Justin Warden, CEO of Ader, a marketing and talent management agency that works with Ninja, who said he had direct knowledge of the deal. Microsoft directed CNN Business to Ninja’s agency, Loaded, when asked about the terms of the deal. The agency declined to share numbers.

If $30 million is a lot of money, it was definitely a smart move for Microsoft who managed to get people talk about Mixer, a platform that still struggles to be taken seriously by gamers and industry watchers. However, if throwing money at streamers may be good for publicity, Mixer still has some serious issues to solve including the lack of a clear product roadmap, as well as the absence of official apps for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and other popular platforms like Android TV or tvOS.

It will also be interesting to see if Microsoft will also be able to turn Ninja, a former Halo professional player, into an ambassador for Mixer and someone who can get the word out about the upcoming Halo: Infinite and other future Xbox Game Studios titles. Back in September, Ninja did get the chance to stream the first ever Gears 5 campaign playthrough on Mixer ahead of the game’s release.

Since he transitioned to Mixer, Ninja has remained mostly focused on Fortnite, the game that made him the biggest streamer on Twitch for some time. He even teamed up with developer Epic Games to get his own skin in Fortnite.