Following the move to bring Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins to their platform, Mixer, the Microsoft-owned streaming service has made another huge signing. This time it is Michael ‘Shroud’ Grzesiek who has made the jump from Twitch to Mixer, and his move may represent an even bigger coup than the deal to bring Fortnite’s first star into the Mixer fold.
For those who aren’t aware, Ninja blew up alongside Fortnite, and is the undeniable biggest single star Twitch has produced to date.
The pinnacle of his time there was the stream he did with hip-hop star Drake, which reached a peak concurrent viewership of 628,000 people back in 2018, but when he left for Mixer there were plenty of people publicly theorising that he was on the wane, and looking for one last payday.
The signing of Shroud, a former Counter-Strike professional who fans often describe as having the "best aim on Twitch" will go a long way to counter the idea that Mixer are picking up scraps.
There can be no doubt that two of the three ‘stars’ of Twitch in 2018 are already gone, with Dr Disrespect the last one remaining in a somewhat surprising show of loyalty from the man they call ‘The Two Time’.
Both deals have generated a good amount of attention, as did Shroud's maiden stream, and there is speculation Microsoft will combine the two with the release of Halo titles on PC, which are set for late 2019 and beyond, to promote titles in the most legendary FPS ever released (on console). Ninja is a former Halo-pro himself, and Shroud is a natural at any game that requires you to click on a character’s face to end their virtual life.
Who is Shroud?
Although he hasn’t achieved the same degree of mainstream success as the blue-haired king of Fortnite, Shroud’s signing is perhaps more significant with the core audience Twitch claims to target - that being gamers. The IRL/just chatting streams that generate so much controversy are a big part of the online streaming business, but Twitch was built on the back of people like Shroud.
After he retired from professional CS:GO in 2017, Shroud’s transition to big-name streamer was not instant, but a steady rise to the point he finds himself at today as the face of PC shooters online.
Any big title that wants promotion for their shooter will no doubt approach him, and the scope of his influence was demonstrated perfectly with the runaway success Apex Legends achieved by marketing directly to gamers via streamers, of which Shroud was arguably the biggest.
As a result of his relevance, and supremacy of skill rather than marketing, the reaction from gamers to Shroud’s move has been different to the scepticism that followed Ninja, and it seems as though public perception of Mixer could be on the move.
True competition in the streaming space is something we desperately need as gaming continues to grow, and with YouTube having established stars, Mixer is a welcome addition to a space that has too long been dominated by one platform.
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