After launching over four years ago, Microsoft has officially announced today that its livestreaming platform, Mixer, will be shutting down in a month. The news comes as a surprise to many, including staff, users and creators alike.
Earlier this morning, Mixer published a post on its blog titled “The Next Step for Mixer,” which explained that Microsoft would be partnering with Facebook and shifting over everyone on the platform to Facebook Gaming in the coming weeks, with July 22nd as the official closure of Mixer. After that, all sites and apps related to Mixer will redirect users to Facebook Gaming.
“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. 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. To better serve our community’s needs, we’re teaming up with Facebook to enable the Mixer community to transition to Facebook Gaming. This is a key part of a broader effort that Xbox and Facebook Gaming are embarking on, bringing new experiences and opportunities to the entire world of gaming.”
According to the post, Mixer plans to transition existing viewers and streamers over to Facebook Gaming leading up to July 22nd, and partners on the platform will be granted a similar status upon migration with their monetization being automatically eligible for the “Level Up” program on Facebook. Major streamers who were initially paid to exclusively move to Mixer early on, such as Ninja and Shroud, will be free to either make this move or set up shop elsewhere on a rival service. For those who have Ember balances or subscriptions still remaining active, Microsoft stated they will receive the balance back in Xbox gift card credit.
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
Though the move might come as a surprise to some, and not to others, the partnership between Microsoft and Facebook is strategic and hopes to use Facebook’s enormous audience to bolster the appeal of xCloud — Microsoft’s upcoming game streaming service that will allow viewers to join in with the games they see players streaming.
In an interview with The Verge, Microsoft’s Head of Gaming, Phil Spencer, said, “It wasn’t as much about return on sell, it was about finding a partnership that was the best things 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.”
After the news hit social media earlier today, the reception has been a mixture of people who expected the service to fail after years of struggling to industry giants like Twitch and plenty who reacted with sadness or anger at the sudden shutdown.
So instead of working to fix the issues, you pulled the plug on the years of hard work, blood, sweat and tears we’ve put in as content creators. This consolation prize feels like a huge slap in the face.
— Enola Leone | 🌈 #PrideAlways (@thatenolaleone) June 22, 2020
One of the biggest gripes over the announcement stems from a lack of communication between Mixer’s content creators and the platform, who were unaware of the impending change and now have to decide whether to move to Facebook Gaming or restart their communities elsewhere. In addition to the creators, even Mixer’s employees were apparently unaware of the pending shutdown. Tara Voelker Wake, one such staff member, said on Twitter that “We didn’t know this was coming. We found out right before you.”
this is really sad
looks like none of the Mixer streamers knew this was coming
i haven’t visited Mixer in a while nor know these peeps, wish them the best in their next platform of choice pic.twitter.com/A3P67SfxN9
— Bear (@BearUNLV) June 22, 2020
For larger content creators, such as Ninja, they seem to be fairing a bit better with the transition, especially since they get to keep the millions from their original contract deals to exclusively stream on Mixer. On Twitter, gaming journalist Rod Breslau claimed Facebook offered to “almost double” the original contracts of Ninja ($10M) and Shroud ($30M) for their exclusivity on Facebook Gaming, but both declined, essentially making them “free agents.”
Ninja returning to twitch like pic.twitter.com/oUQtNO3XI1
— Wowen (@Ga1nSZN) June 22, 2020
In a different tweet, Breslau also revealed another potential point of concern for existing Mixer partners who are looking to move over to Facebook, noting that the new platform is now requiring them to sign an NDA to enter the partner program. He also wrote a later tweet that said, “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.”
Facebook is making Mixer partners sign an NDA to enter the Facebook Gaming partner program pic.twitter.com/qo2gDJzFoV
— Rod “4475 SR & Immortal peak” Breslau (@Slasher) June 22, 2020
In the wake of the news, several have also taken to social media to make light of the sudden death of Mixer through parodies and memes, including comedian and Twitch personality Lance McLaughlin.
How Mixer shut down pic.twitter.com/KWYyaBx5os
— LLance (@theLLance) June 22, 2020