Let’s review the timeline:
August 1st, 2019: Ninja shocks the world by signing (the first?) streaming exclusivity deal with Mixer (deal rumored to be worth $20-30 mil.).
October 24th, 2019: Shroud follows suit and also signs with Mixer (deal rumored to be worth $8-10 mil.).
Fall 2019 – Winter 2019/2020: Pokimane, CouRageJD, Valkyrae, Ewok, Dr. Lupo, Disguised Toast, and many other streamers follow suit and sign exclusivity deals with streaming platforms.
March 12th, 2020: Dr. Disrespect signs an exclusivity deal to stay on Twitch (no idea how much).
June 22nd, 2020: Mixer drops a pipe bomb on Twitter, announcing their “merger” with Facebook Gaming and the shutdown of Mixer. It is also announced that Ninja and Shroud are free agents to sign wherever they want and got paid in full.
June 26th, 2020: Twitch mysteriously ban and remove Dr. Disrespect from their platform, stating that he broke their Community Guidelines and Terms of Service. Doc says he has no idea why he was banned.
August 5th, 2020: Ninja streams on Twitch for the first time in over a year, peaking at over 98,000 viewers.
August 7th, 2020: Dr. Disrespect streams for the first time on YouTube to over 400,000 viewers. He also states he still has no idea why he was banned from Twitch.
August 12th, 2020: Shroud signs with Twitch and streams for the first time to nearly 500,000 peak viewers.
September 10th, 2020: Ninja signs with Twitch and streams for *checks Twitch* at the moment 100,000 concurrent viewers.
Good, now that you’re up to date, let me fill you in on my theory. It’s not that original; many fans have had similar theories. But just in case you’re new to this whole situation (fkn noob), let me take you down my little rabbit hole.
Prior to Mixer signing Ninja, Twitch owned a monopoly on the streaming market. No one else could compete. The site was pulling hundreds of millions of views daily, exponentially higher than Mixer and YouTube Gaming combined. But when Mixer signed both Ninja and Shroud, everything changed. Streamers started to realize they were worth more than they were getting paid and sought out big contracts like their peers to either leave or stay with Twitch.
Twitch followed suit and started locking up their big names like NICKMERCS, Timthetatman, Dr. Lupo, Pokimane, and of course, the 2019 Streamer of the Year, Dr. Disrespect.
But when Mixer’s viewership (and YouTube’s) didn’t spike as expected with their new siginings, people started to realise you can’t just fork up a bunch of money and uproot a community from one platform to another. That is why Mixer ultimately shut down; they chose not to put in the time and money to improve thier platform to the level it needed to compete with Twitch.
So put yourself in Twitch’s shoes now. Two of the top 3 biggest names in the history of your platform are now free agents (Tfue is the 3rd). You know how much money they bring in and you likely know how much you will have to pay for them to sign exclusively with your platform. You likely cannot afford to pay up for both stars, but you want both of them regardless.
So someone’s gotta go.
But who? You just signed massive deals with all these people. How do you determine who to cut?
How about the guy who has a smaller following than all of the names mentioned above? How about the guy who has an aura of mystery built into his stream by pretending to be a character? How about a guy who’s got some controversy under his belt such as an affair and walking into a public bathroom and (unintentionally) filming a child using a urinal? How about a guy you probably just paid a shit ton of money to secure because he just won Streamer of the Year, has a book coming out in 2021, and is in talks to make a TV series?
And what if you drop him without any real explanation during one of the biggest #MeToo movements of recent memory where you are under the microscope for how you’ve handled these issues?
Does that sound like a pretty good plan?
Listen, I love Dr. Disrespect. He’s probably my favorite streamer in the game. And when I first heard of the ban, my mind immediately drifted toward the worst-case scenarios. There were rumors flying all over the internet that he beat his wife and she refused to stay silent any longer, that the girl he had an affair with was also a big streamer, that he had another affair with Alinity (lol) and she wanted more money to keep quiet and he said no, etc.
But honestly, I feel like we would have heard something by now if that were the case. It still could be. But now that both Ninja AND Shroud are on Twitch again and Doc is still claiming he’s in the dark, I’m really starting to lean toward the theory that Twitch banned Doc from their platform for no reason other than to make room for the return of Ninja and Shroud.
What do you think?