- Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek will be returning to Twitch as part of an exclusive streaming deal. Details of the agreement remain unknown as of now.
- The move comes after Microsoft was forced to buy Shroud out of his exclusive contract when it pulled the plug on its steaming platform Mixer this past June.
- The deal has also reignited questions about where Tyler “Ninja” Blevins could land now that he is a free agent following Mixer’s end.
- Also this week, Amazon rebranded Twitch Prime to Prime Gaming in an effort to broaden its reach to all types of gamers and unify its entertainment offerings.
Shroud Returns to Twitch
After weeks of questions and speculations, Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek has finally revealed that he is returning to Twitch with an exclusive streaming deal.
According to reports, the site only saw 0.2% growth year over year. For comparison, Twitch and Facebook Gaming reportedly saw triple-digit growth, while YouTube gaming saw 65% growth.
When Mixer ended, Microsoft was forced to buy its exclusive streamers out of their contracts. That reportedly earned Shroud a cool $10 million and left him as a free agent. Since then, many have been wondering where he would move next, and now, we finally have the answer.
Details of his Twitch deal were not disclosed, but Shroud made the announcement himself with an epic return video that said “I’m coming home.”
According to Loaded, a gamer talent management firm that represents Shroud, he considered moving to YouTube and Facebook, but ultimately landed on Twitch.
In a statement to The Washington Post, Shroud said: “As I was exploring options, I realized that there was no better place than Twitch to engage with the best and most loyal gaming community worldwide.”
Meanwhile, Michael Aragon, SVP of Content at Twitch said, “There’s nothing better than a homecoming, so we’re thrilled to welcome Shroud and his incredible community back to Twitch.”
For now, Loaded said followers will need to re-subscribe to Shroud’s Twitch channel but their subscription tenures will be recognized.
What’s Going on With Dr.DisRespect and Ninja
Some view this deal as Twitch’s attempt to strengthen its place at the top of the streaming market, however, others see Shroud’s homecoming as a return to the status quo.
Still, it’s worth noting that the move comes after Twitch banned one of its top streamers Dr DisRespect. As far as what’s going on with Dr DisRespect, details of his still ban remain quiet.
He has started streaming on YouTube recently, with pretty impressive numbers. His first stream brought it more than half a million viewers, however, he appears to be streaming on YouTube on his own, not as part of any new deal.
As far as what’s going on with Ninja, Shroud’s return to Twitch has definitely sparked new questions about where he’ll land. Ninja returned to his 15 million follower Twitch channel earlier this month and has also streamed on YouTube, but he hasn’t struck any deal as of yet, so many are still keeping an eye out for what his next move could be.
Amazon Rebrands Twitch Prime
In other interesting gaming news, Amazon has rebranded Twitch Prime to Prime Gaming this week as it works to unify its entertainment offerings.
Prime Gaming is included in standard Amazon Prime subscription and Prime Video subscriptions. Prime Gaming users receive a library of games to play, new monthly releases, a Twitch subscription, and in-game loot for popular games like “Grand Theft Auto Online,” “Apex Legends,” “Red Dead Redemption 2,” and more.
This is pretty much the same as how the service worked when it was known as Twitch Prime, and the Twitch-specific benefits are the same too, which means you still get the premium chat badge and extra emoticons.
So why did they change it? Well, Amazon, which owns Twitch, is hoping this rebrand will help widen its appeal. It’s likely that some prime members aren’t aware of all the bundled options for Twitch memberships and other related offers. The idea is that rebranding could clarify that Twitch Prime isn’t just live streaming or regular Twitch users.
Larry Plotnick, director of Prime Gaming said, “It has nothing negative to do about Twitch.”
“We love Twitch. We’re still very deeply partnered with them. But the goal here is really to reach as broad of an audience as possible, reach as many gamers as possible.”
When Twitch Prime launched in 2016, Plotnick said it had a focus on “predominantly core gamers,” but the world of gaming has grown so much over the last few years so this rebrand is part of an overall vision to include different gamers who play on different devices.
In fact, you might have already noticed that over the last few years, more mobile games have been included in its offerings. According to reports, Prime Gaming will also soon add more family-friendly titles to its lineup. Users can also keep its PC game offerings permanently, even if they choose to end their subscription.
Amazon also hasn’t really seen broad success in its standalone efforts to break into the gaming space. For example, it’s latest game “Crucible” flopped and was then pulled from wide release as a result. Now, Amazon hopes that if members pick up on the benefits of Prime Gaming, it’ll help with their overall marketing efforts and success in the gaming space.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (ESPN)
Schools Across the U.S. Cancel Classes Friday Over Unverified TikTok Threat
Officials in multiple states said they haven’t found any credible threats but are taking additional precautions out of an abundance of safety.
Schools in no fewer than 10 states either canceled classes or increased their police presence on Friday after a series of TikToks warned of imminent shooting and bombs threats.
Despite that, officials said they found little evidence to suggest the threats are credible. It’s possible no real threat was actually ever made as it’s unclear if the supposed threats originated on TikTok, another social media platform, or elsewhere.
“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok,” TikTok’s Communications team tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Still, given the uptick of school shootings in the U.S. in recent years, many school districts across the country decided to respond to the rumors. According to The Verge, some districts in California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas shut down Friday.
“Based on law enforcement interviews, Little Falls Community Schools was specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat,” one school district in Minnesota said in a letter Thursday. “In conversations with local law enforcement, the origins of this threat remain unknown. Therefore, school throughout the district is canceled tomorrow, Friday, December 17.”
In Gilroy, California, one high school that closed its doors Friday said it would reschedule final exams that were expected to take place the same day to January.
According to the Associated Press, several other districts in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania stationed more police officers at their schools Friday.
Viral Misinformation or Legitimate Warnings?
As The Verge notes, “The reports of threats on TikTok may be self-perpetuating.”
For example, many of the videos online may have been created in response to initial warnings as more people hopped onto the trend. Amid school cancellations, videos have continued to sprout up — many awash with both rumors and factual information.
“I’m scared off my ass, what do I do???” one TikTok user said in a now-deleted video, according to People.
“The post is vague and not directed at a specific school, and is circulating around school districts across the country,” Chicago Public Schools said in a letter, though it did not identify any specific post. “Please do not re-share any suspicious or concerning posts on social media.”
According to Dr. Amy Klinger, the director of programs for the nonprofit Educator’s School Safety Network, “This is not 2021 phenomenon.”
Instead, she told The Today Show that her network has been tracking school shooting threats since 2013, and she noted that in recent years, they’ve become more prominent on social media.
“It’s not just somebody in a classroom of 15 people hearing someone make a threat,” she said. “It’s 15,000 people on social media, because it gets passed around and it becomes larger and larger and larger.”
Jake Paul Says He “Can’t Get Cancelled” as a Boxer
The controversial YouTuber opened up about what it has been like to go from online fame to professional boxing.
The New Yorker Profiles Jake Paul
YouTuber and boxer Jake Paul talked about his career switch, reputation, and cancel culture in a profile published Monday in The New Yorker.
While Paul rose to fame as the Internet’s troublemaker, he now spends most of his time in the ring. He told the outlet that one difference between YouTube and boxing is that his often controversial reputation lends better to his new career.
“One thing that is great about being a fighter is, like, you can’t get cancelled,” Paul said. The profile noted that the sport often rewards and even encourages some degree of bad behavior.
“I’m not a saint,” Paul later continued. “I’m also not a bad guy, but I can very easily play the role.”
Paul also said the other difference between his time online and his time in boxing is the level of work. While he says he trains hard, he confessed that there was something more challenging about making regular YouTube content.
“Being an influencer was almost harder than being a boxer,” he told The New Yorker. “You wake up in the morning and you’re, like, Damn, I have to create fifteen minutes of amazing content, and I have twelve hours of sunlight.”
Jake Paul Vs. Tommy Fury
The New Yorker profile came just after it was announced over the weekend Paul will be fighting boxer Tommy Fury in an 8-round cruiserweight fight on Showtime in December.
“It’s time to kiss ur last name and ur family’s boxing legacy goodbye,” Paul tweeted. “DEC 18th I’m changing this wankers name to Tommy Fumbles and celebrating with Tom Brady.”
Both Paul and Fury are undefeated, according to ESPN. Like Paul, Fury has found fame outside of the sport. He has become a reality TV star in the U.K. after appearing on the hit show “Love Island.”
See what others are saying: (The New Yorker) (Dexerto) (ESPN)
Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos
The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.
Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws.
For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform.
The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.
It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end.
The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions.
First Twitch Hack
Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.
That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already.