Mixer started life as an independent video game streaming service that touted aggressively low-latency between streamer and viewer, allowing for interaction that simply wasn't possible previously. Next, Mixer popularized co-streaming, allowing users to synchronize their feeds together for co-operative broadcasting. Mixer has also built many unique features (many of which eventually made their way to Twitch and other competitors), including interactive buttons that allow you to directly affect a streamer's video game, as well as HypeZones which dynamically surface streams during intense moments, such as towards the end of a Fortnite or PUBG battle royale.
Today, Mixer revealed the next phase of its evolution, dubbed Season 2. Complete with an array of new features to keep it ahead of the competition.
Skills are a new way viewers can interact with a stream, beyond MixPlay game interaction. Skills allow viewers to send animated fireworks, gifs, and other effects into the chat of a stream, by spending Sparks accrued by watching shows. Sparks have existed on Mixer for quite a long time, as such, many of us have a huge stockpile of them to spend, so I expect the first few weeks of the availability of these new Skills will be quite explosive.
While Mixer doesn't yet have ads, Microsoft and the Mixer community support streamers financially in other ways, chiefly via donations. A new way includes Sparks patronage, which costs viewers nothing. When a user spends Sparks either by clicking your MixPlay interactive buttons or on the new Mixer Skills, the streamer will receive real money payouts when hitting certain milestones.
Beyond Sparks, earned via watching streams, Microsoft is also introducing a new virtual currency called Mixer Embers, which will give users access to rarer, flashier Skills, that come attached with bigger patronage payouts for Mixer streamers. Embers are listed as "coming soon," presumeably before the end of 2018.
On Twitch, Mixer, and other streaming platforms, users can "subscribe" to a channel to help donate to the streamers they like, while also receiving a few perks along the way. Subscribed users gain access to exclusive channel emotes on Mixer, in addition to a channel-branded icon. If you subscribe to Windows Central for example, you get an icon of our logo next to your name while in our chat (as well as access to Zac Bowden and Dan Rubino emotes, how cool.)
Mixer wants to recognize viewers who spend a lot of time supporting their favorite streamers, but who might not be in a position to contribute financially via donations or subscriptions. To do this, Mixer will reward you with progression for each channel you actively participate in, granting levels and emblems that reflect your standing within that community. Progression will arrive some time in 2019.
Competition heating up
Mixer has been growing quite rapidly since it joined Microsoft, enjoying featured spots on the Xbox dashboard. With Microsoft's Azure cloud, Mixer is well-positioned for future growth, as it seeks to capitalize on an industry that has nowhere near peaked.
What do you think of these new Mixer features? Let us know.
Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
I wish they would just cool it with the stickers and focus on stream performance instead . Outside the US and without high speed internet it's horrible .
I have high speed internet, at least 300mbit anyway, and sometimes mixer's performance is terrible. Constantly having to mess with the settings for quality or unchecking low latency mode etc. The amount of times a stream only reliably works in 320p has been embracing, yet I still prefer it over twitch because the UI is slick and the experience (even with it's shot comings) is still better.
As you've said, if they could only work on performance issues it'd be a heck of a lot better, don't understand exactly their issue with having access to their own CDN/ Data centers around the world with Azure...
As much as I do like the UI, its starting to feel like they're adding too much fluff now. Maybe they're trying to cater towards the younger generations that'll be hopefully using it later on, or trying to make the interactive interaction between the streamer and viewers a little more exiting but it seems overly tacky path to go down..
And yet, no UWP app.
try WebToApp from the Store.
With no ads, what are surely expensive server costs, in addition to employee salaries, and now providing actual financial rewards to Mixer streamers via their viewers, it looks like Microsoft is willing to run Mixer deep into the red for the foreseeable future just to help with growth (as I doubt the number of people paying money for Mixer Pro and streamer subscriptions is enough to even come remotely close to offsetting those costs). It's interesting that they're willing to do that, and exciting too, since I think Mixer has a ton of potential for the future of gaming and streaming. But, I wonder if it'll backfire when they eventually have to introduce ads. Might be better to just do it now. They also badly need a universal search bar on the home page. It's mind-boggling to me that they don't have that (you have to click on one of the subpages first before you can search, and even then, the search results are confined to that subpage).
I too think Mixer's infra is expensive, prob the most expensive one of all streaming sites. Support streamer without spending any money???? Bold move. But I suppose Mixer does hold an important role in gaming department. MsStore and xbox cloud save integration, devs can open game API to Mixer, etc.
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