Jaryd “Summit1g” Lazar is no newcomer to Twitch. The mostly retired Counter-Strike pro has been one of the platform’s most recognisable faces since 2012, but over the past few weeks, he’s worked his way into Twitch’s highest echelon.
According to third-party analytics site Twitchstats, Summit now has more subscribers than any other streamer - including the platform’s ubiquitous (though sometimes controversial) babyface, Ninja. Summit now has 44,284 subscribers, while Ninja currently sits at 42,664. This is especially wild given that, just a few weeks ago, Summit was at half that number.
“Somehow breaking personal records on the daily, thanks again for the support dudes,” Summit said on Twitter earlier this week. “Insane.”
While Summit’s feat is impressive, these numbers are complicated. At one point last year, Ninja towered above his competition like a blue-haired giraffe among ants with an astronomical 200,000 subscribers, but many people subscribed to him briefly as part of a Fortnite promotion and did not renew after that. On top of that, subscriber counts fluctuate when streamers are even the slightest bit inconsistent or viewers get bored. Ninja, for instance, lost 40,000 subscribers as the result of a two-day break during E3 last year. It’s also worth noting that Twitch subscribers and Twitch followers are not the same thing; subscribers give streamers money, unlike on YouTube. Ninja is still multiple giraffe necks ahead of Summit (and everybody else) in that regard, with over 13 million followers to Summit’s 3.5 million.
Still, Summit’s made quite the leap in recent times, which fans attribute to his most recent game of choice: Sea of Thieves. Eschewing the Twitch-wide battle royale trend he’d been part of (sometimes to his own detriment, such as when he streamed Fortnite with Jake Paul), Summit has spent the past couple months sailing Rare’s once-slightly-barren seas and, well, mostly fucking with people.
He’s ganked, he’s played devious pranks, and he’s brought PVP to player-driven PVE servers. He’s also gotten up to more wholesome shenanigans like gifting somebody their first kill and quizzing a kid who (sorta) knew who he was.
That said, he’s been ruthless enough to start debates about what constitutes acceptable conduct among pirates, including what seemed to be a targeted response from Rare in which the developer encouraged everyone to “honour the Pirate Code.” Summit’s fans, however, don’t understand why everybody’s getting bent out of shape. “Crazy that people complain about you being a pirate on a pirate game lmao,” said one fan on Twitter earlier this month.
This week hasn’t been all highs for Summit, though; there’s also been one very low low. Yesterday, Summit said he’d received a death threat and was battening down the hatches until further notice. “Somebody gave me a death threat, boys, so I’m just going to make sure I’m staying indoors for the next few days,” he said on stream. “I’ve contacted the police. They’re working with Twitch. All I can really do, man. Gonna have people posted outside the house all day Wednesday. It’s 99.9 per cent a joke — just a fucking dipshit being an arsehole, wanting to get attention. But unfortunately, that means I have to take it pretty serious, you know?”
He also added that he has a gun two feet from him “at all times while I’m streaming” — as well as others in various locations throughout his house — in case such a situation should arise.
Kotaku reached out to Summit and Twitch about what sorts of precautions are being taken, but as of publishing, the former hasn’t replied, and a Twitch representative was unable to provide comment at the time.
It’s pretty clear that Summit isn’t pleased with this turn of events. During yesterday’s stream, he said his girlfriend is currently visiting from another country. “I’d like to make her feel safe, and you’ve accomplished the opposite,” he said. “Put yourself in my position. It’s kinda sucky. It’s not cool, even if it’s a joke.”