After July 22, 2020, Mixer will be no more in its current form. A rather shocking announcement came out today that revealed that Microsoft’s experiment in competing with Amazon/Twitch has bombed out. The site has announced a new partnership with Facebook that will see the end of Mixer in its entirety.
The broader plan seems to be to just transition everyone on the platform over to Facebook Gaming on July 22. Microsoft has struggled to reach any form of audience saturation or size that could compete with Twitch since day one. “We started pretty far behind, in terms of where Mixer’s monthly active viewers were compared to some of the big players out there,” says Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s head of gaming, in an interview with The Verge. “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.”
Microsoft has spent a ton of money to buy exclusivity contracts from streamers like Shroud and Ninja, but the general partners feel a lot less included. And the statement from Mixer and Facebook rings pretty hollow. And let’s be real, given the current wave of sexual harassment claims and other issues running rampant through the games industry right now, it’s very much not the time for this change.
“Ultimately, the success of Partners and streamers on Mixer is dependent on our ability to scale the platform for them as quickly and broadly as possible. It became clear that the time needed to grow our own livestreaming community to scale was out of measure with the vision and experiences that Microsoft and Xbox want to deliver for gamers now, so we’ve decided to close the operations side of Mixer and help the community transition to a new platform. To better serve our community’s needs, we’re teaming up with Facebook to enable the Mixer community to transition to Facebook Gaming. “
They seemingly announced the change via Twitter, and the announcement is also being met with tons of indignation from fans. The reaction from streamers is best described as a slap in the face. A lot of smaller streamers on Mixer feel left out and completely angered and surprised by the closure. It’s very clear that partners and viewers don’t feel just angered, but cheated. It’s a general feeling of working so hard for a platform for them to just be dumped out of the blue.
Although it does make sense from a certain perspective. Microsoft likely saw the writing on the wall in early 2020. StreamElement and Arsenal.gg, who track streaming as an industry pegged Mixer at less than 1% of overall streaming traffic in April 2020. Given such soberingly low numbers, it stands to reason why they would dissolve the brand before the money ran out and it collapsed.
The Mixer brand will go away entirely after the closure date this July. Mixer will be disabled on the Xbox One. This means that streamers not able to afford more complex setups won’t be able to stream as easily from their Xbox consoles. Adding in the fact that all the partners who put time into the platform likely feel betrayed to some degree, and it’s just really sad. Microsoft and Facebook get a payday and everyone else gets screwed.
For employees of Mixer, the situation is more bleak. No Mixer employees will be onboarded with Facebook. Some will move to internal teams of subsidiaries within Microsoft. And the Mixer tech Microsoft has developed will be rolled into other projects. And according to reports from Dina Bass via Bloomberg, talks were already underway early this year for this move to happen.