Microsoft has been doubling up on its strategy in the past year and their biggest move so far is dropping Mixer's service on July 22nd in an effort to move all existing partners to Facebook Gaming with renewed focus. According to various reports, many at Mixer were unaware of this deal as big-name streamers like Shroud and Ninja decline the new Facebook Gaming deal.
While Mixer did a lot of things right in regards to their policies and relationships with their streamers, it couldn't quite scale up to the place needed in order to compete with Twitch. “We started pretty far behind, in terms of where Mixer’s monthly active viewers were compared to some of the big players out there,” said Xbox's Phil Spencer when speaking with The Verge. “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.”
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
So what does this move mean for Mixer streamers? Microsoft has confirmed that it is working with Facebook in an effort to make sure the move from Mixer is as seamless as possible by July 22nd, including an automatic redirection to Facebook Gaming. For those that are already partnered with Mixer, that partnership will automatically transfer over to Facebook Gaming and will automatically be welcomed into the Facebook Level Up program. The problem with this, however, is notable names in the Facebook Gaming market have left the platform over feeling like their audiences were too controlled and growth wasn't encouraged, which is a startling point for why many instantly made the jump back over to Twitch.
While Microsoft is angling to widen its market in preparation for its focus on xCloud streaming, big names in streaming weren't ready to wait around with both Ninja and Shroud going back to Twitch despite the hefty contracts awarded to them. The pair were just a few of the big names paid to make the jump, but it wasn't enough to reflect in viewership numbers, which meant a sharp downturn in revenue and support for the striving streaming platform.
According to various reports, Facebook did make a substantial offer to some of these influencers, such as Ninja, almost doubling what they were originally offered to leave Twitch, but their answer was no. For context, Ninja was offered 30 million dollars to leave Twitch with Shroud coming up behind at 10 million.
Our own sources tell us that only the higher-ups in the company were aware of these conversations, making the sharp pivot a shock to many involved with Mixer's growth. When Microsoft was given the choice of selling Mixer, dropping it completely, or investing more heavily, it came down to the ability to scale the service in a way needed to make an impact. At this time, Microsoft did not see a way to do that in a fashion that was necessary. Spencer did add in the interview that they felt that retuning on the sell was the best move for partners and for the xCloud gaming service as a whole.
“I don’t think we’re going to have to wait too long to see the outcome of the collaboration between the two companies to enable this tech for Facebook Gaming viewers,” said Spencer regarding when gamers can expect to see xCloud gaming on Facebook, though this relationship is something they want to foster. “You’ll see us continuing to grow this relationship... this will be the beginning of us seeing future opportunity together. I think we have a lot of alignment between the organizations on areas where the industry is going and how we can help each other.”
It will be interesting to see what this move means for Microsoft and Facebook Gaming in the future, especially since Facebook Gaming has had its own fair share of streamer discourse regarding their visibility issues, plans for partner growth, and more.