Ninja accused of using “mental health as a marketing strategy” after announcing return to streaming

Alfaro Recoba

After fans feared he was taking time off to tackle a mental health crisis, streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins has returned to announce he’ll now be streaming everywhere.

Last week, Ninja tweeted “I just need a break… I don’t know when I will be back, or where”, removed his profile pictures across all platforms, and changed his display names to “User Not Found”.

That followed a livestream in which Ninja appeared to “rage quit” a game of Fortnite, signing off by saying: “I got to take a break from streaming, dude. I’m going to lose my fucking mind, bro… Chat, I don’t know when I’m going to be live next, but I gotta get off, man.”

Many assumed Ninja’s actions were signs of burnout and a mental health crisis.

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Then, last night Ninja tweeted: “Took a little time off, but now I’m back… and I’ll be live EVERYWHERE tomorrow at 12CST”, alongside an accompanying video announcing his return.

That means Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

Prior to the announcement, some fans speculated Ninja’s exclusivity deal may have ended two years after he returned to the platform from Mixer. In fact, this return seems in-line with Twitch’s exclusivity policy update.

While fans will welcome Ninja’s return, the streamer has been criticised for his handling of this announcement.

In a blog post, esports reporter Jacob Wolf accused Ninja of “obvious and disgusting use of mental health and burnout signs as a marketing ploy after less than a week off”.

“There are big issues with mental health in the streaming community and using it as marketing (poor marketing mind you) is a stain on an otherwise intriguing plan,” wrote Twitch reporter Zach Bussey.

“Ultimately no content creator should ever aspire to be whatever the hell it is ninja has become. Utterly embarrassing really to use mental health as a marketing strategy,” said YouTuber TheTacticalBrit.

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