Mixer (Out of Business)
This week, in news that caught everyone off guard, Microsoft announced that Mixer will not exist anymore. The service will be discontinued as of July 22nd, 2020.
I read this for the first time on The Verge and I could not believe it. I had to check other sources to make sure that it was true. Sure enough, other outlets were also reporting on it. I wanted to give my point of view about this news. But first, let us look at where this service came from and how it got here.
Mixer started under the name of Beam. It was a streaming service out of Seattle and was created by Matthew Salsamendi and James Boehm. The service was officially launched on January 5th, 2016.
Very shortly after, in August 2016, Microsoft bought the service for an undisclosed amount. At the time, Twitch was the king of the streaming services. YouTube Gaming was either non-existant or just starting up. Facebook Gaming did not exist. So Beam had a legit shot at giving Twitch a run for its money.
Beam had some pretty sweet features that even today Twitch is still trying to play catch up. They were the first to have Low-Latency Streaming. The protocol used was called Faster Than Light (FTL) and it allowed the streamer to see little delays in streaming and communication with their fans. At this time this was novel. However, Twitch has since implemented its own version of it.
In April 2019, Mixer added "Channel Progression"—a level system for tracking users' engagement with a particular channel over time. Users can receive benefits to reward their long-term participation.
Twitch also implemented something similar about a year ago with channel points. Rewarding viewers with channel points which they can use in a variety of ways such as highlighting your chat message, using emotes .... etc.
Lastly, in order to copy Twitch, they starting implementing Monthly Subscriptions to support channels.
The service was just there and then one day, there was news that broke on the internet. One of Twitch's biggest streamers was moving over to Mixer. This was big as Ninja was paid a huge contract to move over to Mixer. The number that I have seen was about $30 Million USD for this move. In all fairness, he did have some followers go towards his Mixer channel. As of the writing of this article, he has about 2.3 Million subscribers on Mixer.
Then there was another big Twitch streamer who went to Mixer called Shroud. He has about 1 million subscriptions on the channel. Although not bad, it has been said that the numbers are disappointing.
Then COVID-19 happened and people were stuck in quarantine in their homes. So as expected most streaming services which include Twitch, YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming saw an upswing in viewership. Unfortunately, Mixer was going against that trend and saw either a dip or remained at the same level, which is not good.
Then this week, it was announced that starting July 22nd, 2020 the service will no longer exist anymore. Microsoft has officially killed it and probably saw that this was a lost cause. They did not even try to resell the service.
I am an affiliate with Twitch but before I became an affiliate I streamed on various other platforms such as Mixer, YouTube Gaming, and Facebook Streaming / Facebook Gaming. I will outline what my experience was in general and why I thought that the service was doomed for a while.
When I streamed on Mixer, I found that not many viewers would pass by. This was about a year in a half ago. If I compared to YouTube Gaming and other platforms, I seemed to get a lot more passer by's. Now keep in mind, I still think that discovering channels on Twitch is still a challenge. It seemed that it was more of a challenge on the Mixer platform.
Even through all of the criticisms that people have against Twitch, it is still the number one streaming platform in the world. This is followed by Youtube Gaming and then Facebook Gaming. I will admit that in recent months, I have seen viewership numbers dip a little bit on Twitch. I think I understand why. There have been reports about abuse on Twitch and the way they conduct business can sometimes make you scratch your head. Some people have just had enough and have closed up shop. That is fine. However, even with all of that, the service is still number one.
Mixer was the only service to not see a significant bump in viewership after quarantine from COVID-19. That is not good news. People were starved for new and live content and they could not get the viewership needed. That was very telling.
Now, why do I think that Mixer failed.
One of the reasons that I think the platform failed is because of Prime Subscriptions. If you have an Amazon Prime Subscription, you get one free sub a month on Twitch. So, without spending any extra cash, you can show your favourite streamers the love. Mixer did not really have that for the longest time. They attempted to match that recently with doing something similar with Microsoft Reward Points. Although the idea made sense on paper, in practicality it was not a great idea. Most people that have Rewards Points, are gamers. However, many more people, including non gamers have Amazon Prime. It is just an easier process to give a streamer a Prime Sub than to give a Mixer Sub.
From experience, like I mentioned before, it is a lot more difficult to get eyeballs on Mixer than it is on Twitch. YouTube Gaming has the same problem and it always boggled my mind. For Twitch, you need to go and get a completely different app to watch streams. YouTube Gaming uses what what most people have already, the YouTube App and Mixer was right on the XBOX One out of the box. Yet, people still watch Twitch for their streaming needs. So, I think that Microsoft never got in people's minds that Mixer is also available on iPhones and other devices and people just gravitate to Twitch instead. I think this is a Marketing thing.
Another sign that this platform was not in a good place was when they started paying talent to come over to the platform. It felt like when WCW (World Championship Wrestling) would take talent from the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) in the 1990's. When you start seeing this, it means that Microsoft Execs saw that the platform was not doing well and it needed a push. Unfortunately, even that gamble did not work. I will be very honest, I was never a fan of Ninja or Shroud. I follow smaller streams normally and I am not a big fan of the big streams. Clearly some people watched them but it is did not propagate over to other streamers on the platform.
Then for a small period of time, everyone thought that Twitch would be doomed cause many streamers were switching over to Mixer. That never really happened. Yes, there were people that moved but it seemed like a lower percentage.
In general though, from what I heard from other streamers and gamers, is that Mixer could have been great. It has some pretty sweet tech and it just needed a little more TLC. But it was never enough to get people to go to that platform.
However, on the eve of the next generation of consoles that is almost upon us, Microsoft did not think that this gamble was worth it anymore. That is a shame. I think that streaming is more and more popular and this is a missed opportunity for sure.
Now that Mixer is done and most streamers were asked to go to Facebook Gaming, I am not sure that is a great idea. Trust in Facebook right now is not at its strongest. Then again Twitch is owned by Amazon and they have their own problems. However, for Twitch, you rarely see anything Amazon on the page. However, Facebook is in the name Facebook Gaming. I am not seeing this as being the Twitch killer in my opinion. But I could be completely off, time will tell.
This was my thoughts on the matter. I know that I was not a main Mixer streamer. So if you think that my experience does not reflect yours? Let us know below.