Windows Phone: Mixer is dead, Microsoft partnering with Facebook for game streaming future
Update: Microsoft announced on Monday that Mixer would shut down on July 22. Thanks to a new partnership with Facebook Gaming. Mixer streamers will be able to transition to Facebook’s game streaming service, and Mixer Partners will also get to keep their partner status on Facebook Gaming. Our original story can be found below.
Following a slew of recent deflating headlines and articles, Microsoft will finally shut down its Mixer service effective July 22, 2020. According to the official announcement made today, Microsoft plans to move its existing partners over to Facebook Gaming starting as early as today, and by the end of July 2020, Mixer will cease to be a user-accessible service.
After July 22, 2020, all Mixer channels and affiliate content will redirect to Facebook Gaming, and for the handful of streaming elite on the now-defunct platform, they will be grandfathered into Facebook Gaming partner status which will also include a monetization program transfer to Facebook’s Level Up Program. As for the viewers who collected Ember balances, Microsoft will payout those balances via Xbox gift card credits.
In addition to Mixer’s going away, the streamer deals that were supposed to help spread the platform’s reach will also dissolve and leave headliners like Ninja and Shroud free agents only a couple of months into their contracts, allowing them to cash in big and ultimately return to their home platforms for effectively little to no work on their end.
Sources: Facebook offered an insane offer at almost double for the original Mixer contracts of Ninja and Shroud but Loaded/Ninja/Shroud said no and forced Mixer to buy them out. Ninja made ~$30M from Mixer, and Shroud made ~$10M
Ninja and Shroud are now free agents
— Rod “4475 SR & Immortal peak” Breslau (@Slasher) June 22, 2020
While the news may seem sudden, it follows a recent trend of noteworthy stories charting Microsoft’s difficulty in making the game streaming service a viable alternative to industry competitors in Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and the company’s new partner in Facebook Gaming.
Completely Speechless. Heartbroken. Everything we built.
It’s all over. https://t.co/49aBliYNEW
— Brenna Duffitt (@brennadactyl) June 22, 2020
Head of Xbox gaming, Phil Spencer spoke with The Verge on the matter:
“We started pretty far behind, in terms of where Mixer’s monthly active viewers were compared to some of the big players out there. 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.”
Microsoft’s decision to shift from its own in-house technology to Facebook Gaming comes amid a continuing struggle from the company to expand its audience. Similar in fashion to Microsoft ditching other consumer-facing platforms such as Groove Music for Spotify or Windows 10 Mobile for Android and iOS, the company is opting to let a more established player help expand usage of its services.
“It wasn’t as much about return on-sell, it was about finding a partnership that was the best thing for the community and streamers. We think this is it, and it gives us a great place to launch more xCloud content and give gamers the ability to play from there.”
Microsoft is set to launch its xCloud game streaming service later this year, and this puts the seemingly sudden transition in a clearer perspective as the company looks to lean on Facebook’s reach to make it as accessible to as many people on day one as possible. Also, in partnering with Facebook, Microsoft will also be able to offer similar in-game streaming co-op perks as Google’s Stadia, such as immediate multiplayer join ups and mid-game co-op opportunities.
While Mixer as a consumer-facing platform is going away, Microsoft will retain the low-latency and compression technology presumably for its enterprise ambitions for future Teams and Skype video conferencing and streaming features. Unfortunately, for anyone who rode the Windows Phone to Windows Mobile to eventually iOS or Android train, today’s news feels all too familiar.