Type of site
|Available in||21 languages|
|Founder(s)||Matthew Salsamendi |
|Launched||January 5, 2016|
|Current status||Shut Down operations as of July 22, 2020|
Mixer was an American video game live streaming platform. The service officially launched on January 5, 2016, as Beam, under the ownership of co-founders Matthew Salsamendi and James Boehm. The service placed an emphasis on interactivity, with low stream latency and a platform for allowing viewers to perform actions that can influence a stream.
The service was acquired by Microsoft in August 2016, after which it was renamed Mixer in 2017 and integrated into Microsoft's Xbox division (including top-level integration on Xbox One). In 2019, Mixer gained attention when it signed two top streamers from its main competitor, Twitch—Ninja and Shroud—to a contract with the service.
However, citing an inability to scale its operations, Microsoft announced on June 22, 2020, that Mixer would be shut down by the end of July 22, and that an agreement had been made with Facebook for monetized channels to join similar programs on Facebook's game streaming platform. Microsoft officially shut down Mixer on July 22, 2020.
Mixer used a low-latency streaming protocol known as FTL ("Faster Than Light"); the service states that this protocol only creates delays of less than a second between the original broadcast and when it is received by users, rather than 10–20 seconds, making it more appropriate for real-time interactivity between a streamer and their viewers. In addition, viewers can use buttons below a stream to interact with it, including voting, special effects, and influencing gameplay. Some interactions required users to spend "Sparks"—a currency accumulated while viewing streams. An SDK was available to integrate games with this system.
In November 2018, the site unveiled a major update branded as "Season 2", including features launching immediately, and plans for upcoming features. The update added automatic quality adjustment to the player, and "Skills"—a feature that can be used to trigger special animations and effects in chat. Some premium skills are purchased using the paid currency "Embers"; channels can receive revenue from Embers spent by their viewers. Partnered streamers can also receive payment bonuses based on the volume of Sparks spent on their channels. In April 2019, Mixer added "Channel Progression"—a level system for tracking users' engagement with a particular channel over time. Users can receive benefits to reward their long-term participation. Mixer's features also included CATbot, an auto chat filtration bot that helped remove unwanted chat content on streamers’ channels before chat ever saw it. CATbot's moderation level could be adjusted for all viewers or could be set according to viewers’ rank in Channel Progression.
Users could also purchase subscriptions to individual channels that are Mixer partners, which allowed access to exclusive emoticons, and adds a badge to their name in chat commemorate their support. Initially, these were priced at US$5.99 per month. In October 2019, Mixer announced that the price would be lowered to $4.99, matching the price of subscriptions on Twitch.
On August 11, 2016, Beam was acquired by Microsoft for an undisclosed amount. The service's team was integrated into the Xbox division. On October 26, 2016, Microsoft announced that Beam would be integrated into Windows 10. Beam broadcasting was also integrated into Xbox One on the March 2017 software update.
On May 25, 2017, Microsoft announced that Beam had been renamed Mixer, as the previous name could not be used globally. The re-branding came alongside the introduction of several new features, such as the ability for a user to co-host up to three other streams on their channel at once, as well as the companion mobile app Mixer Create. It was also announced that Mixer would receive top-level integration within the Xbox One dashboard, with a new tab curating Mixer streams.
On July 31, 2019, video game streamer Ninja announced that he would move exclusively from Twitch to Mixer beginning August 1. The deal was considered to be a major coup for Mixer, as Ninja had been among Twitch's top personalities, with over 14 million followers. His wife and manager Jessica Blevins stated that the contract with Twitch had encumbered his ability to "grow his brand" outside of gaming, and that his interest in streaming had been deteriorating due to the perceived "toxic[ity]" of Twitch's community.
A report by Streamlabs and Newzoo reported that in the third quarter of 2019, Mixer had a 188% quarter-by-quarter increase in the amount of unique hours of content being streamed on the service, but that the percentage of concurrent viewers had fallen by 11.7%. Mixer founders Boehm and Salsamendi both left Microsoft in October 2019. The same month, streamer Shroud also entered into an exclusivity agreement with Mixer, followed shortly afterward by KingGothalion.
On June 22, 2020, citing a poor market share and inability to scale in comparison to competing services, Microsoft announced that Mixer would be shut down on July 22, 2020. As part of an agreement to collaborate with Facebook, Inc. on aspects of its xCloud cloud gaming service, Mixer would redirect users to the Facebook Gaming service after it ceased operations, and partnered streamers offered opportunities to join equivalent Facebook Gaming programs where applicable. Outstanding subscriptions and Embers were converted to Microsoft Store credit. Mixer's intellectual property and staff will be transferred to the Microsoft Teams division, and incorporated into the product. Attempting to visit mixer.com now results in a redirect to Facebook Gaming. Microsoft released its contracts with exclusively-signed streamers; in August, Ninja held a stream on YouTube before returning to Twitch, while Shroud re-signed exclusively with Twitch.
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- Alexander, Julia (October 24, 2019). "Twitch megastar Shroud is joining Ninja on Mixer as an exclusive streamer". The Verge. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
- Stephen, Bijan (October 28, 2019). "Mixer adds another top streamer to its roster, which means its plan is working". The Verge. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
- Warren, Tom (June 22, 2020). "Microsoft is shutting down Mixer and partnering with Facebook Gaming". The Verge. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
- Stephen, Bijan (June 22, 2020). "Ninja, Shroud, and other top Mixer streamers are now free to stream on Twitch again". The Verge. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
- Stephen, Bijan (August 11, 2020). "Shroud returns to Twitch, exclusively". The Verge. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
- Garrett, Alexandra. "Fortnite streamer Ninja comes back to Twitch after Mixer closure". CNET. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
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