Article By: Jessi 7XS
It’s the end of an era; well a 4 year era anyway. Recently announced on June 22nd, 2020 Microsoft is shutting down it’s streaming platform, Mixer, on July 22, 2020. Established as a Seattle based streaming platform called Beam, Microsoft acquired the company in August 2016 and renamed it Mixer as part of the rebranding in May 2017. Heavily integrated into the Xbox One platform during the March 2017 software update, Mixer became one of the go to streaming platforms for gamers, running alongside live stream giant Twitch.
Mixer allowed gamers of all abilities on the Xbox One an easy way to get into streaming. Mixer allowed for the use of any USB camera for streamers rather than where Twitch required streamers to have a Kinect for camera usage. Mixer aimed to give gamers and streamers alike a more interactive experience through their ability to connect with the streamer through chat and even polls where a streamer could have the viewers vote on a decision they need to make in game. Gamers watching streams were even rewarded with sparks, a currency that could be used to unlock different emotes in chat, rewarded simply by just watching streams. Ever watch NFL RedZone? NFL RedZone circulates between different NFL games being broadcasted, and shows you any team that is in the “RedZone” [for those who don’t watch American football, that is when they are close to a touchdown]. Mixer offered HypeZone, a channel curated of various broadcasts that would give you best moments of multiplayer games and matches in titles such as PUBG, Fortnite, and Apex.
So why is Mixer even shutting down, I mean Mixer couldn’t be all that bad right? After all they were able to sign exclusive streaming partnerships with two of the biggest names in Twitch streaming; Ninja [August 1, 2019: Over 14.7mil. followers] and Shroud [October 2019: 7.1mil. Followers]. In a recent interview with The Verge, Microsoft’s Head of Gaming Phil Spencer stated “We started pretty far behind, in terms of where Mixer’s monthly active viewers were compared to some of the big players out there.” We all know the “big players” Mr. Spencer is referring to; Twitch, Facebook Gaming, and YouTube.
So is Mixer dropping off the face of the earth for good? What does this mean for those with exclusive streaming partnerships? It has been announced that Microsoft will partner with Facebook to transition Mixer viewers and streamers to Facebook Gaming. When Mixer shuts down officially in July, all sites and apps will redirect to Facebook Gaming. Those Mixer partners will be granted partner status at FBG, and those who were using Mixers monetization program will get eligibility for FB’s Level Up. If you had Ember balances, subscriptions, or Mixer Pro subscription, fear not your money is not lost for good. Those with outstanding balances in these areas will get an Xbox Gift Card credit.
Why Facebook Gaming? With their goal of bringing more appeal to the upcoming xCloud game streaming service, Microsoft is hoping the partnership will do just that. Bringing xC to FBG would allow viewers to click and immediately play games that are being streamed. Microsoft’s Phil Spencer, also in the same interview with The Verge had this to say; “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 also went on to state that Facebook Gaming would help with Microsoft’s goal of having large audiences in order to meet their 2 billion gamer vision for xCloud gaming, something that Mixer alone would not put them into a position to meet. This writer has been searching, and so far as come up with nothing clear of an exact general release for xCloud. But we do hope to see it later this year, hopefully to coincide with the release of Xbox Series X.
Where does this leave Ninja and Shroud? Reportedly both streamers were offered contracts with Facebook Gaming as part of the Mixer shutdown, but at this time neither one has directly stated that they will sign a contract there. So Mixer, as they rightfully should, has paid both of them the remainder of their contracts, and they are now free agents. As they’ve stated on Twitter, they both appreciate Mixer and are figuring out where to go from here.
Will they jump back towards Twitch, the platform that gave them their rise to fame? That still remains to be seen.
What do you think about this new partnership? Do you think it’s meant to be, or will it flop horribly? Either way, we’ve got just about a month left to keep supporting our favorite streamers on their home of Mixer. When it comes time for the switch, follow your favorites wherever they decide to make their streaming home. Remember in the gaming community, we are better as a team helping to hype each other up rather than tear each other down.