Shroud’s comeback stream shows the power of Twitch’s biggest names

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Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek’s first stream back on Twitch after his departure for Mixer was, by any measure, a massive success. He came back with more than 500,000 concurrents, a tide of subscriptions, and a new goatee. Grzesiek’s stream was the most popular on Twitch for the time he was live — a full nine times bigger than top-five streamer Nick “Nickmercs” Kolcheff’s channel, which had around 55,000 live viewers.

“God it feels good, man! Ugh, fuck,” said Grzesiek, who admitted that he’d been a bit nervous when he started streaming and saw the viewer numbers climbing. (He said he’d expected around 200,000, for what it’s worth.) “It’s my first day. There’s gonna be years. Years.” The chat was flying too fast for anyone to read.

It’s a win for Twitch, which signed Grzesiek to an exclusive deal after his Mixer contract was up when that site went dark for good. He was a fixture on the site for years, and it’s very clear Twitch’s community was glad to have him back. It remains to be seen whether Twitch will extend the same kind of deal to Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, another high-profile departure. Since he left Mixer, Blevins has streamed on both YouTube and Twitch to massive numbers both times — it’s clear he’s testing the waters and figuring out where he’ll stream next. Guy “DrDisrespect” Beahm, on the other hand, popped up at YouTube, where he also had around half a million people watching.

What Grzesiek’s, Blevins’, and Beahm’s streams had in common — aside from the massive numbers — was that they hadn’t broadcast anything for a while. On his stream, Grzesiek said he’d taken 45 days off, while Blevins popped up on YouTube a couple weeks after Mixer shut down in June. Beahm got permanently banned from Twitch in late June for unspecified reasons, and he didn’t return to streaming until last week.

A comeback stream is an event. A kind of debutante ball for a streamer who has the public waiting eagerly for their return. For Grzesiek and Blevins, returning to streaming meant seeing a large part of their communities again; when both of them signed to Mixer, they lost significant chunks of their audiences, which is to say the people who wouldn’t follow them to a whole new website. And that’s why their returns were so big: there’s no hype quite like the hype generated when a streamer switches platforms or returns home. Viewers love events.

It was easy to see how hyped the chat was during Grzesiek’s stream; everyone was excited to see him back where he made his name in the first place. And while he probably won’t keep the same wild numbers he’s pulling now — a couple hours into the stream, Grzesiek’s channel was down to 344,000 concurrents — he’s still absolutely beloved by the community.

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