Microsoft is getting out of the live streaming game, and has announced that its Mixer streaming portal will go dark on July 22.
Mixer was the cumulation of Microsoft’s attempt to take on streaming giant Twitch, and the company has poured significant time and effort into building the service out as a viable platform through interactive features and, just recently, exclusivity contracts with top streamers.
But, as Xbox head Phil Spencer explains in a blog post, Mixer wasn’t quite able to scale up to where the company needed the platform to be, and as such Microsoft has instead decided to put the service to rest and focus its attentions on other projects like xCloud.
Social media posts from those that worked behind the scenes on Mixer seem to indicate the Microsoft staff working on the platform found out about the shutdown moments before the public announcement went live. While Spencer notes that Mixer’s technology will live on through other Microsoft products like Teams, it’s not yet known if Microsoft will fully transition Mixer staff to other projects within the company. (Update: According to statement provided to Gamasutra from a Microsoft spokesperson, “We can confirm that we are committed to redeploying people and technology across our team wherever possible.”)
“Ultimately, the success of Partners and streamers on Mixer is dependent on our ability to scale the service for them as quickly and broadly as possible,” writes Spencer. “It became clear that the time needed to grow our own livestreaming community to scale was out of measure with the vision and experiences we want to deliver to gamers now, so we’ve decided to close the operations side of Mixer and help the community transition to a new platform.”
That new platform isn’t so new. Microsoft has partnered with Facebook to transition the current Mixer streamer- and viewer-base over to the social network’s baked-in streaming platform Facebook Gaming. That process has already started for some, and Mixer is working to get existing users set up over on the new platform between now and that shutdown date. Once Mixer goes dark on July 22, any Mixer sites or apps will automatically redirect to Facebook Gaming as well.
Those streamers that had signed contracts to broadcast exclusively on Mixer, including big names like Ninja and Shroud, won’t be required to carry that exclusivity over to Facebook Gaming, according to a statement from Facebook Gaming CEO Vivek Sharma delivered to The Verge, though reports circulating around online say that Facebook Gaming attempted to forge new contracts with those streamers and were denied.