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Microsoft is shutting down Mixer and partnering up with Facebook Gaming

By Tim Augustin - on 23 Jun 2020, 3:02pm

Microsoft is shutting down Mixer and partnering up with Facebook Gaming

Image: Microsoft

Who didn’t see this one coming?

Microsoft is finally putting an end to Mixer, and instead partnering up with Facebook Gaming to keep its streaming potential going. Microsoft made the announcement today, emphasising that Mixer will only shut down completely on July 22, at which point all links and applications will redirect users to Facebook Gaming. 

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer explained the decision, saying:

Ultimately, the success of Partners and streamers on Mixer is dependent on our ability to scale the service 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 we want to deliver to gamers now, so we’ve decided to close the operations side of Mixer and help the community transition to a new platform. 

In less PR-heavy speak, this essentially means that Mixer bombed as a platform in competition with Twitch. The streaming platform has failed to gain a foothold in its three years of service, despite Microsoft’s best efforts. The company had previously signed on two of Twitch’s most popular streamers, Ninja and Shroud to stream exclusively on Mixer. Recent data however, suggests that the duo have only managed to garner 6.1% and 7.7% in viewership share out of the entire platform respectively, for the past two weeks. 

As part of Microsoft’s new partnership with Facebook Gaming, the company is also bringing its xCloud technology over. This is to build a new type of platform, that lets viewers instantly jump into the games they’re watching others play. Spencer says:

Key to this vision is our Project xCloud technology, which we see delivering games to all kinds of screens and windows in your life, including those on Facebook. Gaming is already part of our social fabric, and Project xCloud can take you from discussing a new game – whether it’s a funny in-game moment posted by a friend, an ad, or an ongoing stream – directly to playing it. In the future, through the power of Xbox Live and Project xCloud, we see there being just one click between “I’m watching” and “I’m playing.”  

This will come as heartbreaking news to the streamers who have built up their own communities on Mixer. Fortunately, Mixer has confirmed that partnered streamers will continue to be partners over at Facebook Gaming, if they so choose to make the switch. All streamers who previously signed up to be exclusive with Mixer are now free to return to Twitch - so look for Ninja and Shroud’s explosive returns to the platform sometime soon. 

Esports insider Rod ‘Slasher’ Breslau also claims that Facebook, “is offering a one time $2,500 signing bonus for Mixer partners who choose to move to the Facebook Gaming Creator Program and stay for 90 days (and fulfill obligations).” Clearly, Facebook is taking every opportunity to gain a stronger foothold in the streaming scene.

Image: Facebook

Mixer's shutdown shouldn’t come as surprising news. In terms of viewership alone, Mixer only managed to capture 3.7% of Twitch’s hours watched in 2019. As the Covid-19 pandemic forced everyone into lockdowns, Twitch saw immense growth - with 20% growth in average concurrent viewers versus the last quarter of 2019, reaching new records. Mixer somehow saw an actual decrease in this time, with -7% hours watched and -5% concurrent viewers. 

Twitch is clearly a streaming juggernaut, especially where the esports scene is concerned. Facebook Gaming might have a better chance at becoming a noteworthy competitor however, having seen a growth of 210% in hours watched from 2018 to 2019. Its average number of viewers per hour streamed also jumped forward by 78% during this time. Whether this partnership with Mixer will bring it more success in the long run however, remains to be seen. 

For more information on what Mixer is (or rather, was), read here.