While everyone was engrossed in watching Apple’s WWDC 2020 keynote speech last night, Microsoft shared a piece of unfortunate news with us. Sadly, Microsoft’s game streaming platform, Mixer, is being shuttered on 22nd July – exactly one month from today.
Where Do the Streamers Go?
Microsoft picked up Beam, a budding game streaming platform and TechCrunch Disrupt winner, and rebranded it to Mixer back in 2016. The platform, however, failed to gain the traction it needed to compete against competitors like Twitch and YouTube Gaming. The platform did sign some bigtime streamers, including Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek and Tyler “Ninja” Blevins last year, but in vain. Thus, it’s the end of the road for Mixer.
In an official blog post, Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, talks about the decision to shutter Mixer and says, “It became clear that the time needed to grow our own live-streaming community to scale was out of measure with the vision and experiences we want to deliver to gamers now. We’ve decided to close the operations side of Mixer and help the community transition to a new platform.”
And as you can see, the new platform where Mixer streamers will be transitioned to is Facebook Gaming. The company has partnered with the social media giant to further the reach of its streamers. The blog post also adds, “Mixer Partners will be granted partner status with Facebook Gaming, and the platform will honor and match all existing Partner agreements as closely as possible.”
At the end of the day, it’s up to the streamer whether they want to switch to Facebook Gaming. I don’t see a majority of them moving to the social media service. Instead, it seems more plausible for them to stick to Twitch or YouTube Gaming.
Mixer will be completely shut down exactly one month from now. Its website and app will automatically redirect users to Facebook Gaming, the latest partner to shoulder its game streaming ambitions.
What Happens to Shroud and Ninja?
Mixer roped in two of the most popular streamers on Twitch, Fortnite streamer Ninja and FPS God Shroud, to bulk up its lineup. The company expected to witness a huge rise in viewers by welcoming the two streamers, giving a boost to the community as a whole. However, it seems like all the work (and most importantly, money) Microsoft had poured into Mixer didn’t work out afterall.
As for what’s next for Shroud and Ninja, they are no longer bound to any contract by Mixer. They are free agents and can either choose to return to their roots, back to Twitch, or seek other opportunities. Since the surprise announcement from last night, both Shroud and Ninja have taken to Twitter to inform their community that they are ‘figuring out the next steps.’
I appreciate the Mixer community and everything I’ve been able to do on the platform. I love you guys and am figuring out my next steps. 💙
— Michael Grzesiek (@shroud) June 22, 2020
I love my community and what we built together on Mixer. I have some decisions to make and will be thinking about you all as I make them.
— Ninja (@Ninja) June 22, 2020
Also, if rumors are to be believed then both Shroud and Ninja are said to have turned down an impressive multi-million dollar package from Facebook Gaming. Esports consultant Rod Breslau took to Twitter to gossip that Facebook offered ‘almost double for the original Mixer contracts’ to Grzesiek and Blevins. They turned it down and are now rumored to have walked away with over $10 million and $30 million earnings from their Mixer deals respectively.
Who’s the Winner Though?
The signing of bigtime streamers, coming from Twitch, brought along some attention to Mixer. It was right behind Twitch in terms of hours streamed in Q1 2020 but overall, the platform was struggling to move ahead of rivals, including YouTube and Facebook Gaming. It wasn’t able to convert these signings into money-making machines for the platform, as planned.
Who has the most to gain from Mixer being shut down? For one, Twitch is being super warm, welcoming streamers who will soon lose their home and community, over to its own platform. It will most likely dedicate resources to help Mixer partners smoothly join its growing community.
More players make every game better. @WatchMixer built an incredible platform and grew a passionate community of talented creators.
To the Mixer community, we understand this is a difficult time. We encourage you to take the time you need, and know that Twitch is here to help.
— Twitch (@Twitch) June 23, 2020
If you ask me though, YouTube Gaming could emerge as the winner here. All budding streamers are flocking to the video streaming giant as there’s a chance at visibility as compared to Twitch. At the end of the day, this is mere guesswork and we will have to wait for official streaming numbers to know who reaped the benefits of this closure.