One of Twitch’s most popular streamers said on Friday he was joining a rival streaming platform, Kick, in a significant blow to the Amazon-owned site and a sign of its increasingly strained relationship with content creators.
Felix Lengyel, a Canadian known online as xQc, is signing a two-year deal worth about $70 million, with incentives that could bring the total to about $100 million, his agent, Ryan Morrison, said.
Lengyel’s deal, almost as big as the two-year contract extension signed by LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers last year, could shake up the economy of the world of online entertainment.
“This is more than most professional athletes and megastars,” Morrison said. “This is one of the best deals in entertainment, period.”
Mr. Lengyel, 27, chats with fans, hosts reality shows and broadcasts himself playing video games. He has become a star in the world of live streaming, with nearly 12 million followers and the ability to attract tens of thousands of viewers at any given time. By some metrics, he is the most popular streamer on Twitch.
“Kick allows me to try to do things I haven’t been able to do before,” Lengyel said in a statement. “I am very excited to take this opportunity and maximize it into fresh, creative new ideas for years to come.”
Top live streaming personalities can earn millions of dollars and attract loyal viewing communities by streaming their content, but several of them have left Twitch in recent years, lured by lucrative deals from other platforms like YouTube. And some streamers have complained that Twitch has become less responsive to its online community and more focused on profitability than keeping streamers happy.
Those concerns came to a head last fall when Twitch said it would take a larger share of the revenue major streamers make from fans who pay to subscribe to their channels. Twitch changed that policy this week and reverted a recent change that restricted the types of ads streamers could display during their streams.
Kick, a streaming platform backed by online gambling and betting sites in Australia such as Easygo Gaming and Stake.com, an online casino, launched this year and emphasizes its streamer-friendly policies. Only 5 percent of the revenue from streamers’ subscriptions is needed, compared to the 50 percent cut that Twitch takes. As a start-up, Kick is prepared to operate at a loss, said Ed Craven, the company’s chief executive.
Lengyel is expected to primarily produce content for Kick, but will not be bound by an exclusive contract with the site and could appear on YouTube or TikTok from time to time, Craven said. Mr. Lengyel still plans to appear on Twitch, though not as often as he did before he signed with Kick.
Kick averages 110,000 live streams per day, still dwarfed by Twitch’s seven million monthly streamers and 31 million daily viewers. But it has grown rapidly and has attracted other stars.
“It’s about creating something that’s really centered around the creator themselves and building a community that’s really built around them and not just around a corporate structure,” Craven said. “We don’t feel like we really have the right to reach into their pockets and take a piece of that.”