Microsoft To Shut Down Mixer In July Move Streamers To Facebook Gaming
Microsoft is sunsetting its video game streaming service, Mixer, and transitioning to a partnership with Facebook. As of July 22, Mixer “sites and apps will redirect users to Facebook Gaming,” the company said in a blog post on June 22. Like Amazon’s Twitch, Facebook Gaming is a video game streaming portal and app. Rather than a dedicated website, however, Facebook Gaming is built directly into the social media service.
The move, Microsoft said, is a direct reaction to the company’s lack of success with growing Mixer’s audience. Going forward, Microsoft said, Mixer will be part of Facebook Gaming. The company launched its Mixer service in 2017 after acquiring the gaming startup Beam Interactive in 2016.
Microsoft announced that when the service sunsets, it will be transitioning partnerships to Facebook Gaming and redirecting its users to the service as well. The partnership between the two is a T-Mobile and Sprint partnership of sorts, the two were clearly trailing far behind the YouTube Gaming/Twitch duopoly. The Facebook partnership goes deeper than just watching streams, Microsoft will integrate their xCloud game-streaming service into Facebook Gaming so users can quickly play titles that they see inside the service.
Microsoft’s gaming chief Phil Spencer pinned the shutdown on the service’s inability to catch up with competitors, in that interview.
“We started pretty far behind, in terms of where Mixer’s monthly active viewers were compared to some of the big players out there,” says Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s head of gaming, in an interview 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.”
“We made a decision earlier this year that we were going to change approach,” Spencer mentioned. “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.”
Mixer customers won’t be required to transition to Facebook Gaming, however the two firms plan to make the change as straightforward as attainable for them. The announcement came in the midst of Apple’s WWDC keynote, so fair to say that Microsoft was likely aiming to minimize attention on this high-profile shutdown.
We’ve seen Microsoft give up on services in the past like Groove Music and partner with Spotify, but that partnership wasn’t exactly super close or meaningful to end users. Spencer sees this as the beginning of opportunities around gaming for Microsoft and Facebook. “The teams are physically actually close to each other, we’ve been to each other’s offices,” says Spencer. “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.”
Microsoft will now keep hold of the technology that has powered Mixer and supported collaborative and low-latency streaming features. Microsoft Teams will start to use part of this Mixer technology in the future to improve real-time interactivity and low-latency streaming, and the Mixer developers involved in this will remain at Microsoft to help with the work on Teams.
Mixer has been downloaded around 3.4 million times in the App Store and Google Play this year, according to analytics company SensorTower, amounting to a 23% decrease from last year. In total, Mixer has been downloaded 21 million times globally.