Earlier this week, Twitch streamer Ninja smashed records for the most concurrent viewers for a single individual’s Twitch channel when he teamed up in Fortnite Duos with recording artist Drake. The stream continued to add a star-studded cast of players when fellow recording artist Travis Scott and NFL wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster joined for Squads.
But the record-setting stream didn’t go by without some people casting doubt on the legitimacy of the team-up. Many people suggested that the stream was a huge, planned publicity stunt, for which Ninja, Drake, or both were paid by either Fortnite‘s developer Epic Games or even Twitch itself. After all, the historic stream not only made headlines on gaming outlets, but it even made it into mainstream news and sports coverage as well.
But according to gamesindustry.biz, who spoke to representatives at both companies, neither Epic Games nor Twitch compensated Ninja or Drake for the stream.
Recently, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins soared to the top of Twitch with the rising popularity of Fortnite. Ninja has been streaming for years and was a competitive eSports player dating back to Halo: Reach, but he has quickly become the most popular streamer on Twitch, holding more than 180,000 subscriptions to his channel, 3 million followers, and a regular viewership of 100,000 per stream.
Ninja and Drake had discussed playing Fortnite together before that stream, which topped off around 628,000 concurrent viewers, but it wasn’t a sure thing until it actually happened. And these statements from Epic Games and Twitch further confirm that it was just that – a spur of the moment event that sent Ninja’s stream into the stratosphere – not a marketing stunt.
The stream was not the most concurrent viewers a Twitch stream has ever garnered—that record belongs to a Counter-Strike tournament in January that had over 1 million concurrent viewers—but Ninja now holds the most concurrent viewers for an individual’s stream. That record had previously belonged to DrDisrespect whose return to Twitch last month drew in more than 388,000 viewers, according to Twitch.
Fortnite is available now on iOS, PC, PS4, and Xbox One.