Microsoft has announced "the next step for Mixer," which is basically a step up to the guillotine, as Mixer is being folded into Facebook Gaming. In its blog post Microsoft tries to dress up its deal with Facebook Gaming as a victory, an opportunity, a chance to deliver "new experiences and opportunities to the entire world of gaming," but obviously its games streaming platform wasn't sustainable simply as it didn't have the number of streamers and viewers to make it a success. Mixer apparently had some great qualities but couldn't challenge the market dominance of the likes of Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Facebook Gaming.
Only a year ago Mixer was in the headlines for the high profile hiring of Fortnite player Tyler 'Ninja' Blevins, and it similarly grabbed CS:GO pro Michael 'Shroud' Grzesiek from Twitch with a lucrative exclusive streaming deal. There are reports that these streamers have been offered about $60m and $20m, respectively, to transition from Mixer to Facebook Gaming. If they rejected the Facebook Gaming offers, one must assume they will head on back to Twitch.
Providing some more insight into Microsoft's decision, head of Xbox Phil Spencer spoke to Polygon about the transition. "We made a decision earlier this year that we were going to change approach," Spencer said. "We weren't going to be continuing with Mixer as it was, and we wanted to find a partner for us who had a similar worldview on how gaming can evolve and the impact it could have, and a partner that had unique assets to really take that Mixer community, make it their own, and grow it to the level of impact and size that I really think it deserves and needs." Spencer went on to talk about how the scale offered by FBG would be beneficial to streamers hoping to reach a wide audience and make a livelihood.
As part of the deal Microsoft will gain exposure for its xCloud game streaming platform on Facebook - a potential audience of 2bn people. This could be hugely important for Microsoft in its battle against the likes of Google Stadia.
Looking through social media posts by streamers who were committed to Mixer, it is hard to see any positivity. Most are saddened to see the established audiences and communities they have built up over several years potentially evaporate. Microsoft says it is making transitioning as easy and smooth as possible - with a dedicated FB.gg/Mixer page setup to help people move over. Facebook will "honour and match all existing Partner agreements as closely as possible," says Microsoft but I don't know how un/favourable Facebook Gaming's monetisation terms are.
Mixer will shut down on 22nd July.