Microsoft is shutting down its streaming video game platform, Mixer, after failing to meet the company’s expectations for growth.
The company said Monday the transition of the Mixer streaming community to Facebook Gaming is partnering with Facebook. The transaction puts together two major stars in a relationship that might threaten market giant, Amazon’s Twitch, in the gaming sector.
“The success of Partners and streamers on Mixer is dependent on our ability to scale the platform for them as quickly and broadly as possible,” Mixer said in a blog post Monday. “It became clear that the time needed to grow our own livestreaming community to scale was out of measure with the vision and experiences that Microsoft and Xbox want to deliver for gamers now, so we’ve decided to close the operations side of Mixer and help the community transition to a new platform.”
The companies have refused to state how much the agreement is worth. Facebook spokesperson Drew Symonds confirmed that it is a collaboration “not a merger or an acquisition.” The spokesperson said that Facebook Gaming will hold the rights to the Mixer trademarks and associated domain names, but that Microsoft will maintain the intellectual property rights to the Mixer system.
Mixer co-founder Matt Salsamendi, who left last year, told CNN Business last week he won’t see any money out of the deal.
Mixer, once called Beam, had flown largely under the radar since Microsoft acquired it in 2016. Yet last year, after Fortnite champion Ninja made the switch from Twitch to stream exclusively on Mixer, the company became conscious.
Thanks to its wide reach in the gaming ecosystem which includes Xbox consoles, game developers and cloud streaming, Microsoft also had a leg up on Amazon. Still, there has been significant competition from Twitch and other rival platforms such as Google’s YouTube.
Mixer has been downloaded around 3.4 million times worldwide by first-time users through the App Store and Google Play since the beginning of this year, a 23 percent decline from the same period the year before, according to estimates from Sensor Tower, a mobile app research firm.
Microsoft said that the deal is part of a broader Xbox and Facebook effort to bring “new experiences and opportunities” to the more than 700 million monthly users of Facebook Gaming.
All Mixer sites and apps are going to redirect users to Facebook Gaming starting on July 22, the company said. It added that Mixer Partners — mixer streamers that can monetize their content and enjoy benefits such as priority platform support — will also be awarded Facebook gaming partner status, and the new platform will ” honor and match all existing partner agreements as closely as possible.”
However, according to Facebook’s Symonds, whether or not Mixer Partners ultimately transition to Facebook Gaming is “completely optional.” This makes it unclear yet whether Mixer’s high-profile partners will be able to benefit the platform.
“Just like all Mixer Partners, Ninja, along with King Gothalion, Shroud and Ewok, are welcome to join Facebook Gaming,” Symonds said. “We want to give Mixer streamers the option to continue streaming on Facebook Gaming. No matter where they choose to stream, the world deserves their gaming content.”
King Gothalion has said he plans to join Facebook Gaming on Twitter Monday. Ninja was further on the line, saying, “I have some decisions to make and will be thinking about you all as I make them.”
A representative for Ninja has not immediately returned a request for comment on whether he plans to switch to Facebook Gaming streaming.
Still, the combination of the Mixer community with the ability of Facebook to grow platforms has great potential, StreamElements CEO Doron Nir said.
“Based on Facebook [Gaming’s] current trajectory, with the brand growing more than 100% in hours watched from March to May, this announcement is only going to add more momentum to their market share while providing the streaming community with better opportunities,” Nir said.