Since hitting the mainstream with its acquisition of one of the biggest streamers of all time, the question mark over the Mixer's viability has been a persistent issue.
Mixer has grown since its early days as Beam.pro, but it hasn't seen the types of audiences that typically allow people to become career streamers. Frustration with the platform has led many ex-partners to move to other services in recent months for more exposure, whether it's Twitch, YouTube, or indeed, Facebook Gaming, which brings us to today's topic.
Today, Microsoft revealed that it is beginning the process to sunset Mixer, planning to "close the operations side of Mixer," and support creators into choosing new platforms.
From the beginning, Mixer has been about creating the most engaging and interactive livestreaming experience. We set out to help streamers build great communities based on deep engagement with their audience. You all have been amazing throughout this journey – the Mixer community has set the industry's bar for welcoming and inclusive communities, and you should be proud of what you have accomplished together.
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.
Microsoft is teaming up with Facebook Gaming to provide a "bridge" and direct partnership for all of Mixer's existing partnered streamers. As far as we know, it's only Facebook Gaming offering a direct avenue for partnerships right now. Microsoft expanded, detailing how it intends to help migrate the Mixer community, and offer a new home for streamers who choose to jump across to Facebook instead of other platforms.
Beginning today, Facebook Gaming will make it easy for anyone in the Mixer community to join if they choose to do so. We will work to transition the Mixer community over the next few weeks. Starting on July 22, all Mixer sites and apps will redirect users to Facebook Gaming.
Transitioning the Mixer community is a key part of a broader effort that Xbox and Facebook Gaming are embarking on, bringing new experiences and opportunities to Facebook where every month more than 700 million people play a game, watch a gaming video or interact in a gaming Group.
The news came as a bit of a shock to me personally, especially as someone who began streaming on Beam.pro for Windows Central back when all of this came about. However, the writing was ultimately on the wall when Mixer failed to grow during a period when literally everybody was indoors. Many of Mixer's competitors saw triple-digit growth, while Mixer only saw 0.2 percent. The slow pace of updates likely didn't help either, as many of Mixer's unique platform strengths got copied rapidly by its competitors, who then iterated more quickly to bring benefits for those investing in the platform.
Project xCloud meets Facebook Gaming
Facebook isn't exactly the friendliest company, embroiled in what feels like near-weekly controversies. Even when you disregard its inaction over fake news and the spread of weird conspiracy theories across its platform, it's not something typically talked about in the wider core gaming community, despite its massive size. Indeed, Facebook is a platform with billions of users, which by far outstrips the kind of reach Mixer would likely ever be able to achieve, even if they baked it directly into Windows itself. It's with that in mind then, that we come to Microsoft's other announcement, that it will be partnering up with Facebook to bring Project xCloud to the platform.
Key to this vision is our Project xCloud technology, which we see delivering games to all kinds of screens and windows in your life, including those on Facebook. Gaming is already part of our social fabric, and Project xCloud can take you from discussing a new game – whether it's a funny in-game moment posted by a friend, an ad, or an ongoing stream – directly to playing it. In the future, through the power of Xbox Live and Project xCloud, we see there being just one click between "I'm watching" and "I'm playing."
There are no hard details about exactly what they will be doing, but I imagine it will be similar to scenarios posited previously by Google Stadia, such as moving straight from a game stream on YouTube to playing it on Stadia, for example.
Facebook's massive platform size will give the Xbox developer environment more endpoints than PC and Xbox could do by itself, which could help Project xCloud to truly explode if positioned properly. We'll have to wait and see how that plays out.
Bye bye Mixer
We grew a nice little channel over there, and I just want to thank and shoutout all the amazing partners and Mixer community members and staff who made streaming there unique and fun. The smaller audience certainly made it difficult to turn streaming into a career over there, but Mixer at least attempted to offer an oasis in a desert of toxicity that generally plagues online video game conversations, with investments in things like its AI moderator system.
The partnership with Facebook Gaming will undoubtedly be a boost for Project xCloud, but for the Mixer community, it remains to be seen whether Facebook can really offer the kind of close-knit community that Mixer once fostered. I made far more friends on Mixer than I ever did streaming on other platforms, with viewers and streamers who were generally awesome people (you know who you are).
If you've enjoyed our streams on Mixer, know that we'll continue streaming the Windows Central Podcast over on our main YouTube channel, and streaming games over on our separate Windows Central Gaming YouTube channel here.