Will partner with Facebook Gaming instead.
Microsoft will be shutting down its struggling video game live streaming platform Mixer on 22nd July, and is partnering up with Facebook Gaming in its stead.
Mixer originally launched under the name Beam in 2016 and was acquired by Microsoft soon after; it was re-branded with its current moniker the following year. Despite concerted efforts from Microsoft to boost the popularity of its service – including signing up hugely popular Twitch streamer Ninja as a Mixer exclusive back in 2019 – its live streaming service struggled against competition from Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook.
And now, less than a year on, it seems Microsoft is ready to concede defeat in the live streaming space. Mixer will officially cease operations next month, and all Mixer partners and streamers transition to Facebook Gaming starting today.
In an interview with The Verge discussing Microsoft’s new live streaming strategy, head of gaming Phil Spencer acknowledged the company “started pretty far behind, in terms of where Mixer’s monthly active viewers were compared to some of the big players out there”, and explained the decision to partner with Facebook Gaming was, in large part, a matter of scale.
“When we think about xCloud and the opportunity to unlock gameplay for two billion players, we know it’s going be critically important that our services find large audiences and Facebook clearly gives us that opportunity,” explained.
Microsoft is clearly hoping its xCloud game streaming service – which will be integrated with its Xbox Game Pass subscription service later this year – will gain an immediate advantage over similar offerings, such as Google’s beleaguered Stadia proposition, by piggybacking onto Facebook’s massive existing audiences, and that it won’t be fighting for supremacy from last place as was the case with Mixer.
Outside of xCloud, Spencer says he believes streamers will benefit from Facebook expanded reach, although The Verge notes that high-profile Mixer-exclusive partners such as Ninja and Shroud will now be free to rejoin Twitch or other services if they choose not to migrate to Facebook Gaming, although neither has spoken of their future plans at the time of writing.