Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios announced today that he will be leaving Twitch to stream exclusively on Facebook Gaming
Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios will now dip his toes into the “Streaming Wars” by joining Facebook Gaming. Barrios has built quite a following during his 9-year professional career. Barrios will continue to post his video-on-demand (VOD) content to YouTube for his 820,000 subscribers but will leave behind his 520,000 Twitch followers as he begins to stream exclusively on Facebook Gaming starting today, December 2.
Barrios says that he chose Facebook over other streaming services due to the overall Facebook infrastructure. The Facebook platform, Instagram, and other social media companies are all under the Facebook umbrella. Growing his Instagram is a focus of Barrios and partnering with the company that owns it makes this a perfect fit. “I always had to scale down my expectations because it was just me working with my resources,” said Barrios. “Now if I want to host an event for charity, interact with a celebrity...Facebook is right there to make it happen”.
Barrios understands that not everyone that watched him on Twitch will follow him to Facebook Gaming. However, he believes that many will. Barrios has made it a priority to differentiate himself from other Super Smash Bros. streamers through the content he provides. “Truth be told, there [are] a lot good smash player streamers,” Barrios told ESPN Esports in an exclusive interview. Barrios believes that the unique experience he provides viewers is what will entice fans to follow him to Facebook. “It’s like well I want to keep watching ZeRo, and I’m not going to stop watching ZeRo because suddenly he has a different URL.”
Who is ZeRo?
The 24-year old Chilian is not only a Super Smash Bros. legend but one of the most successful esports players of all time. Barrios is perhaps the most dominant player in their respective game that we have ever seen. Barrios won an unprecedented 56 consecutive Super Smash Bros. tournaments before finally being defeated, a feat that led to him being featured in the 2016 Guinness Book of World Records. The gap between him and the next best player was massive. Barrios was unbeatable at his peak. Content with what he had accomplished, Barrios retired from competitive play in January 2018 due to medical and mental health reasons. The hiatus was short-lived, in November 2018 Barrios signed with the Tempo Storm esports team to compete in the newest Super Smash Bros. game, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
The “Streaming Wars”
During his retirement, Barrios focused on streaming and content creation. This is where he amassed most of his YouTube and Twitch following. Now, Barrios is the latest streamer to switch things up in the ongoing “Streaming Wars”. Amazon-owned Twitch, Google-owned YouTube, Microsoft-backed Mixer, and now Facebook, are all making major moves to acquire big-name streamers to help them grasp on to a piece of the lucrative live streaming market.
The battle for streamer exclusivity rights has risen to new levels this fall. Mixer started the trend, signing two of Twitch’s biggest names, Tyler "Ninja" Blevins and Michael "Shroud" Grzesiek to exclusivity deals. A few weeks later, YouTube announced it had signed Jack "CouRage" Dunlop, popular Call of Duty/Fortnite caster turned streamer. This is not Facebook’s first signing either. In October, they signed an exclusivity deal with Hearthstone content creator Jeremy "Disguised Toast" Wang.
According to stream statistics website TwitchTracker, Barrios ranked 272nd overall on Twitch and averaged roughly 2,000 concurrent viewers per stream in the last three months. This is yet another hit to Twitch. Twitch continues to bleed streamers and the further loss of heavyweights like Blevins, Grzesiek and Barrios is surely putting at least a small dent into their business. These exclusivity rights deals are not stopping anytime soon. We will see in the coming months and years if Twitch starts to fight back or if Mixer, Youtube and Facebook continue to steal their most popular streamers away.