Mixer is Microsoft's Twitch competitor and made headlines last year when they began signing major Twitch talent like Shroud and Ninja into exclusivity deals. However, things haven't exactly been smooth sailing at Microsoft's nascent streaming service as of late.
A few partners have been expressing their annoyance about the platform as of late, with issues ranging from archaic clothing rules to unstable stream feeds.
One big sore point has long been 24/7 streams, where a user just sets their stream on some radio station and goes AFK, billing themselves as a "spark farm," Mixer's currency for viewing streams. There's also been a rise of "follow for follow" spammers, who aren't actually actively streaming. Some of these streams end up trending on the front page, taking precious space away from legitimate streamers on a platform that isn't exactly awash with viewers.
Today, Microsoft announced via Mixer's LevelUpCast that it's taking action, along with a few other useful Mixer updates.
- Clip upgrades will let you trim your clips more accurately, all the way down to 5 seconds. Previously, Mixer's clipping tool was a little less flexible.
- The Mixer app on Xbox will offer an option to go back to the previous chat method, with a sidebar, rather than a chat overlay on top of the video. It's in testing now, with a planned February roll out.
- Starting next week, Mixer will no longer allow 24/7 spark farms nor follow for follow streams, where there's nobody actually streaming. Mixer is nailing down the fine print over how this works, but this shouldn't impact legitimate 24/7 channels such as music stations and animal cams and such, on a "case by case" basis. Mixer will also include a 24/7 stream category in the future, for legitimate 24/7 streams and creative projects, and will include an appeal process in case someone is banned unfairly or wants to change their streaming model.
- Mixer says it will try to action these sorts of policy changes more rapidly in the future.
- Mixer also teased new auto-hosting features for the future.
With Mixer's founders departing the platform last year, Mixer still feels like it's going through a lot of "growing pains" as a platform and a community, but hopefully Microsoft will start to pick up the pace if it wants to play with the big boys at Twitch and YouTube.