Microsoft is closing its Mixer video game live-streaming service on 22 July 2020 with plans to move existing partners and streamers over to Facebook Gaming.
Mixer, launched in 2016, will now no longer be operated by Microsoft as a service. The reason for this decision is that the company has struggled to reach the scale needed for Mixer to compete with Twitch, YouTube, and even Facebook Gaming itself.
“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,” he says.
Microsoft Partners with Facebook Gaming
Along with the announcement of the closure of Mixer, Microsoft likewise announced a new partnership with Facebook in order to transition existing viewers and streamers from Mixer over to Facebook Gaming in the coming weeks.
On 22 July, all Mixer sites and apps will automatically redirect to Facebook Gaming. Existing Mixer Partners will be granted partner status with Facebook Gaming, and any streamers using the Mixer monetization program will be granted eligibility for Facebook’s Level Up program.
Mixer viewers with outstanding Ember balances, channel subscriptions, or Mixer Pro subscriptions will receive Xbox gift card credit.
Facebook Gaming and xCloud
Clearly a strategic choice between the two massive corporations, it is also a method to broaden the appeal of its upcoming xCloud game streaming service and its overall gaming efforts.
Microsoft will work closely with Facebook to bring xCloud to Facebook Gaming, allowing viewers to click and immediately play games that people are streaming. It’s a vision that’s very similar to Google’s ambitions with Stadia, but Mixer has lacked the scale and viewership to truly deliver this more broadly.
The company has talked in the past about its vision of reaching 2 billion gamers with xCloud, but Mixer was nowhere near a strong enough position to have achieved that vision.
“When we think about xCloud and the opportunity to unlock gameplay for 2 billion players, we know it’s going be critically important that our services find large audiences and Facebook clearly gives us that opportunity,” says Spencer.
Ninja, Shroud, and other Mixer Streamers
Microsoft has previously recruited huge-name streamers such as Ninja and Shroud to exclusive deals on Mixer. Meaning that these super-popular streamers would only stream on Microsoft’s service.
It seems now that, even with the inclusion of these massive deals – Ninja’s Mixer contract was estimated to be worth about $20 million to $30 million – the streaming service never managed to rake up the viewership of its contemporaries.
As of now, Shroud, Ninja and other exclusive streamers are free agents and can journey back to previous platforms to stream, platforms such as Twitch.