Soleil “Ewok” Wheeler is a lot of things: she’s a deaf 13-year-old Fortnite pro, the gaming team Faze Clan’s first female member (and the second one under 14), and as of today, Wheeler has become the latest prominent streamer to leave Twitch to stream exclusively on Microsoft’s Mixer. In her announcement video, which she teased on Twitter last night, Wheeler paints the Mixer logo on a stark white wall. Afterward, she nods, as though she’s appreciating the job she’s done.
Of the high-profile streamers who have recently joined Mixer — including her new peers, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Cory “King Gothalion” Michael, Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek — Wheeler is the only girl. Over on Twitch, she had 284,000 followers and had streamed with people like Ben “DrLupo” Lupo, Tim “TimtheTatman” Betar, and Blevins. (Crucially, this was after he said he wasn’t streaming with women anymore.)
Wheeler is an interesting choice for Mixer. Though she’s big on Twitch, she doesn’t put up nearly the numbers that Mixer’s other huge names do, and she’s also relatively new to streaming. According to the stats site Twitch Metrics, Wheeler has only streamed for 70 hours, total. That said, if Mixer is going after streamers like Wheeler — the professional class of streamers, in other words, who don’t have gigantic followings but can also make a living from their audiences — it means that Microsoft is probably in talks with more than just Twitch’s top stars.
It also helps that Wheeler plays Fortnite, which, despite being set in the third person, is a shooter. As the release date for Microsoft’s Project Scarlett and the new Halo draws closer, we’ll probably see Mixer pick up more streamers who are familiar with Microsoft’s games and who play shooters. Big names mean more people engaging with those products, which means that every streamer acquisition is an investment in the upcoming console wars.