Microsoft is shuttering Mixer, the video game live-streaming platform it acquired in 2016 to compete with Twitch.
The service will stop operations on July 22. In its place, Microsoft is encouraging streamers to move to Facebook Gaming as it focuses on promoting cloud-gaming technology Project xCloud.
“Our priority and focus is on the world-class content being made by our 15 Xbox Game Studios, the evolution of Xbox Game Pass, the launch of Xbox Series X, and the global opportunity to play anywhere with Project xCloud,” Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, wrote in blog post. “Bringing that vision to life, for as many people as possible, will see us working with different partners, platforms, and communities for years to come. It will also see us adjusting our strategy to best serve players wherever they gather daily, which includes the category of live streaming.”
It’s a big strategy pivot for Microsoft, following a period of heavy investment by the company into the business. Mixer launched in 2016 as Beam. Microsoft acquired it soon thereafter and, in 2017, renamed it Mixer. Last year, Microsoft lured Twitch’s most popular streamer, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, to Mixer with a lucrative contract, setting off a talent war. Other streamers like Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek soon followed.
But, Spencer wrote, “It became clear that the time needed to grow our own live streaming 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.”
While Microsoft is encouraging its partners to move to Facebook Gaming, they will not be required to make the move. That means in-demand talent like Ninja and Shroud will be open to return to Twitch — or strike deals with other platforms — instead.
Ninja tweeted on Monday that he has “some decisions to make” following the news about Mixer.
I love my community and what we built together on Mixer. I have some decisions to make and will be thinking about you all as I make them.
— Ninja (@Ninja) June 22, 2020
Beginning July 22, Mixer’s sites and apps will redirect to Facebook Gaming, which has more than 700 million monthly users.