After four-and-a-half years, Microsoft's livestreaming platform Mixer will shut down later today. Officially, Mixer streamers (Mixerers?) are invited to swap over to Facebook Gaming's livestreaming service, with treasured Mixer Partners getting partner status over there too. From what I've seen on my stroll through Mixer on this final day, a whole lot of folks are planning to switch to Twitch. The shutdown comes less than a year after Microsoft went wild recruiting top Twitch streamers including Tyler "Ninja" Blevins with exclusivity contracts rumoured to be worth millions.
Mixer first launched in 2016 under the name 'Beam' then was bought by Microsoft later that year, who renamed it 'Mixer' in 2017. One of its big selling points was shorter delays between the broadcaster and the viewers, so folks could have more back-and-forth and interact more. It also had built-in support for novelty streams like Pokémon controlled by viewers. Microsoft also had their studios integrate Mixer features into games, so Forza Horizon 4 gave rewards for both streaming and watching it on Mixer, Minecraft let viewers vote on things, and so on.
I know some folks dug Mixer but it never really took off, always deep in the shadow of Twitch. Last year Microsoft made a big play for viewers by paying a number of big Twitch streamers to switch exclusively to Mixer. While numbers were never revealed, one industry fella did estimate that Ninja's scloosie might have cost Microsoft $20 to $30 million (£15-23m). It was only a guess, mind. Ninja's video announcing his swap was agonising:
FPS ace Michael "Shroud" Grzesiek had a better one:
Despite the big names and bigger cheques, apparently it wasn't enough.
"Ultimately, the success of Partners and streamers on Mixer is dependent on our ability to scale the platform for them as quickly and broadly as possible," Microsoft said in the shutdown announcement in June. "It became clear that the time needed to grow our own livestreaming community to scale was out of measure with the vision and experiences that Microsoft and Xbox want to deliver for gamers now, so we've decided to close the operations side of Mixer and help the community transition to a new platform. "
Microsoft have teamed up with Facebook Gaming to offer folks a way to transition onto their platform, keeping the partner status for earning money off it. See this FAQ for more on handover plans. But Facebook Gaming is another also-ran platform. Poking around Mixer today, I saw many streams advertising moves to Twitch, and only one person saying they were headed to Facebook Gaming. Ninja has already gone over to YouTube.
While many people were simply streaming screens advertising Twitch accounts, today I also saw people saying their thanks and goodbyes. Some were rebroadcasting old highlights. A red van painted with "BLM FTP" did endless donuts in a river in Forza Horizon 4 to an audience of 80. And a special mention for "BeeYoo", who talked about her streaming experiences under the excellent title "It's The Last Day Of School Burn Everything!!!"