Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek is the latest Twitch megastar to abandon the Amazon-owned streaming service in favor of Microsoft’s Mixer platform.

Grzesiek, a former professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player, made his announcement on Twitter today. His first stream is today at 8pm ET. He jokes in the announcement video that he’s “making moves,” following in the same footsteps as another popular streamer, Ninja.

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins left his home on Twitch in August to stream exclusively on Mixer earlier this year and shook the streaming industry to its core. Both Grzesiek and Blevins are two of the gaming world’s most-watched streamers, and both came up through Twitch after retiring from professional play. (Ninja was a former Halo pro before transitioning to battle royale games.) Blevins commented on Grzesiek’s move on Twitter, calling it a “massive move for the platform and the streaming industry.”

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It may come as a surprising move to fans, especially since Grzesiek saw Blevins’ departure as a chance for him to grow his own brand on Twitch. “Hey man, Ninja’s gone,” he said during a stream in August, just after the announcement was made. “It’s all me, baby. Gotta take advantage.”

 

Still, his move is proof that Twitch’s top talent isn’t as tied to the streaming service as people may have expected before. Whether it’s due to financial deals — reports suggested that Blevins signed an impressive contract with Microsoft to stream exclusively on Mixer — or growing concern over burnout and lingering issues on Twitch, streamers are looking elsewhere.

Ninja’s manager and wife, Jessica Blevins, told Business Insider earlier this year that he decided to leave Twitch because of the company’s inability to work with them on building out the “Ninja” brand.

“Money was the last thing on our mind,” she said. “It’s like, they don’t even know what went on behind the scenes and how hard we tried to make that deal work — and then how amazing Microsoft was for us.”

Mixer is growing in popularity, but it’s still far from competing on a level field with Twitch. New data, released by StreamElements in partnership with streaming analytics site Arsenal.gg, found that hours watched on Mixer jumped about 3 million in August, just after Blevins joined the platform. In that same time period, Twitch jumped from 850.6 million to 932.1 million, according to StreamElements’ data.

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Source: The Verge

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