For Microsoft’s Team Xbox, managing 15 Xbox Game Studios, the evolution of Xbox Game Pass, the launch of Xbox Series X, and the global opportunity to play anywhere with Project xCloud has proven to be more than enough to handle.
Growing Mixer as a community gaming platform that can rival Twitch was a bridge too far.
“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,” announced Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox.
Starting on July 22, all Mixer sites and apps will redirect users to Facebook Gaming. For Mixer Partners, streamers, and viewers, details on the transition to Facebook Gaming can be found on the Mixer blog here.
Clearly, Mixer presented a channel conflict with Microsoft’s Azure-powered Project xCloud. Like Mixer, Project xCloud can take players and fans from discussing a new game directly to playing it. In the future, through the power of Xbox Live and Project xCloud, Microsoft sees there being just one click between “I’m watching” and “I’m playing.”
Sunsetting Mixer makes sense to many, but is Facebook the right company to be partnering with right now? Instagram is owned by Facebook, and the deal covers xCloud on IG Live. The massive, 1 Billion+ MAU userbase on Facebook and Instagram outweigh hardcore gamers.
Still, it is remarkable how much has changed in the four years since Microsoft officially launched Mixer on January 5, 2016, as Beam and what might have been foreseen. In 2019, Mixer gained a surge of publicity when it signed top Twitch personality Ninja to an exclusivity deal with the service.
Livestreaming services, like Mixer, have pioneered a new level of interactive experiences at scale, born from the simple fact that players drive the action in a game. Although the Mixer community will be able to transition to Facebook Gaming, the innovative technology that powered the platform will stay with and live on across Microsoft. No IP transfer was a part of the package.
Microsoft Teams will leverage Mixer’s deep investments in ultra-low latency video streaming, real-time interactivity, and video distribution technology to accelerate our ability to support a variety of video-first, virtual experiences from meetings to live events to other broadcast scenarios. Applying these fan-centric capabilities to new productivity experiences will create immersive ways for Teams to empower people, teams, and organizations to better engage in virtual gatherings at work and school.
Venturebeat’s Sean Takahashi can sympathize with those gamers who made the leap from Twitch to Mixer. “It will be tough for streamers like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, who gave up his following of 50 million viewers on Twitch for a smaller audience on Mixer,” he said.
While Microsoft will help transition streamers and their audiences to Facebook Gaming, streamers will have their own choice on how to proceed. As for Xbox gamers…
Facebook Gaming said it has a reach of more than 700 million people, which is the number of people who play a game, watch a gaming video, or interact in a gaming group on Facebook in a month. Microsoft hasn’t said how many viewers Mixer had since August 2019, when the number was about 30 million.
Measurement firm Sensor Tower said that so far this year, Mixer has been downloaded about 3.4 million times on mobile by first-time users across the App Store and Google Play globally. This figure represents a 23% decrease from the same period of time in 2019, which saw 4.4 million downloads. Sensor Tower estimates that Mixer has accrued about 21 million lifetime downloads on the App Store and Google Play. That isn’t counting Xbox or PC downloads.
By contrast, Twitch’s mobile app has more than 188 million installs, Sensor Tower said. The Twitch mobile app has been installed about 37.4 million times so far this year across the App Store and Google Play globally. That’s an increase of 115% from 17.4 million during the same period in 2019.