Microsoft’s maligned streaming platform, Mixer, is no more. That’s the word according to reports from The Verge that state the site is shutting down as of July 22. The platform failed to gain traction with streamers as it continued to lag behind Twitch, YouTube, and its new partner, Facebook Gaming, in viewership. The move raises questions about just how costly its major exclusivity deals with top streamers were. Mixer’s top stars like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek are now free agents.
How Did Mixer Fail?
Launching in 2017, Mixer was supposed to be Microsoft’s in-house answer to Twitch. It took pride in its full integration with Xbox and promised better revenue splits for its streamers. However, the Amazon-owned Twitch continued to grow and Facebook Gaming release only made matters worse for them. According to a Q1 report from Stream Hatchet, Mixer had 17% of all hours streamed but came in dead last in hours watched. Mixer streamers were putting out content, and no one was watching.
Even worse, according to Arsenal.gg, a streamer data research tool, Mixer was barely able to grow the streaming service post-COVID. Meanwhile, their competitors saw nearly triple-digit increases across the board in hours watched. Facebook, in particular, saw nearly 240% growth while Mixer languished at 0.2%.
So Where Do The Streamers Go?
With Mixer shutting down that means all of their streamers are being migrated over to Facebook Gaming. Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world and Microsoft is looking to take advantage of that. Microsoft’s Head of Gaming, Phil Spencer, told the Verge that Mixer’s streamers might be better off.
“I think the Mixer community is really going to benefit from the broad audience that Facebook has through their properties, and the abilities to reach gamers in a very seamless way through the social platform Facebook has.”
Phil Spencer Microsoft’s Head of Gaming to The Verge
According to Microsoft and Facebook, all of the streamers on Mixer will have an onboarding process to Facebook Gaming. Partnered streamers on Mixer will have the same status on Facebook gaming, but they will need to sign new contracts. But that doesn’t guarantee that every streamer will want to join Facebook. Its also hard Ninja and Shroud going to Facebook, when a large incumbent audience on Twitch is ready for their return.
A Sad End
Despite the numbers, Mixer was an opportunity to have a different home for many streamers. The choice is good, but not just for the sake of choice. While Mixer had a little bit of steam starting out it sputtered into lifelessness. Mixer’s top headlines over the past two years haven’t been all that great. Signing deals for millions of dollars that didn’t bring in long-lasting growth, or Mixer management calling streamers “slaves” doesn’t bode well for a fledgling brand. According to Microsoft the service ends officially on July 22nd and streamers can begin moving to Facebook as of right now.
Featured Image: Tyler “Ninja” Blevins shakes hands with Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek onstage prior to the Doritos Bowl 2018 at TwitchCon 2018 in the San Jose Convention Center on October 27, 2018 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)