- Microsoft will shut down its Mixer livestreaming service for gamers and instead will partner with Facebook Gaming. After July 22, Mixer.com will redirect users to Fb.gg, Facebook's website for gaming video, while Mixer livestreams on Xbox One consoles will be disabled. Mixer apps will tell viewers to watch their favorite streamers on Facebook Gaming, according to a blog post.
- Microsoft is releasing popular streamers such as Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, Cory "King Gothalion" Michael and Michael "Shroud" Grzesiek from their contracts, letting them sign deals with other livestreaming platforms such as Amazon's Twitch, Facebook Gaming or YouTube Gaming, The Verge reported.
- Streamers in Mixer's open monetization program are eligible for Facebook Gaming's Level Up program to grow and monetize their streams from fan subscriptions. Facebook Gaming will also fast-track onboarding for eligible streamers, per the Mixer blog.
Microsoft's decision to close Mixer likely will have a limited effect on mobile marketers because the service was much less popular than rival platforms. Among the 3.93 billion hours of gaming video watch time in April, 37.1 million happened on Mixer — less than 1% of the total — a monthly study by StreamElements and Arsenal.gg found. Amazon's Twitch was the market leader at 1.49 billion hours, followed by Google's YouTube Gaming at 461 million and Facebook Gaming at 291 million. Mixer's paltry viewership likely limited the opportunities for marketers to collaborate with streamers on campaigns.
By freeing streamers from their contracts, Microsoft is giving popular gaming personalities a chance to line up new deals with livestreaming platforms and opportunities for marketers to participate in sponsorship agreements. Last year, Microsoft paid Tyler "Ninja" Blevins a reported $20 million to $30 million to leave Twitch, where he was the most popular streamer, and join Mixer in a multiyear deal. The idea was to lure his millions of followers to Mixer, but he ended up losing more than 10 million followers, The Verge reported. Blevins had lined up sponsors such as Red Bull Energy Drink and sportswear maker Adidas that wanted to get their brands in front of gamers who are hard to reach through other media outlets.
Mixer's shutdown is a minor sign of consolidation in the marketplace for livestreamed gaming content. The remaining brands are owned by the three biggest companies in digital advertising — Google, Facebook and Amazon. Those three have the infrastructure to monetize livestreamed gaming content and to invest more in cross-promoting their services among their various digital advertising platforms. Microsoft would have needed to spend heavily on promotions, content and exclusive partnerships with streamers to stand out among those rivals. While the company reported in an earnings call that it had 90 million active users of Xbox Live and 10 million subscribers to its Xbox Game Pass, it appears that only a handful of those users watched Mixer on Xbox consoles or its website. Meanwhile, Microsoft can focus on the launce of its upcoming xCloud game streaming service.
For Facebook, the migration of Mixer users is a chance to add more streamers to its platform and increase the user base of Facebook Gaming. Hours spent on Facebook Gaming surged 238% in April from a year earlier, the fastest among any livestreaming platform. While Facebook Gaming started from a smaller base than Twitch or YouTube Gaming, it has the potential to increase its share of a market that doubled its viewing time in the past year, according to StreamElements and Arsenal.gg.