Microsoft has announced that it is shutting down Mixer, its streaming competitor to the likes of Twitch, on July 22. The Xbox owners will be transitioning over to Facebook Gaming instead, partnered streamers having the option to be included with the move or return to Twitch.
Mixer, which was known as Beam.io before Microsoft purchased it, struggled to gain the viewership of its competitors since launch. Big streamer acquisitions such as deals with Ninja and Shroud might have initially drawn viewers in, but it’s lacked the mass appeal Microsoft, and Xbox specifically, need leading up to the launch of the Xbox Series X and xCloud, Xbox’s on-demand streaming service.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer explained in a statement to The Verge that the decision wasn’t so much about how to recoup a return on investment, but rather what will work for Xbox’s future strategies. “When we think about xCloud and the opportunity to unlock gameplay for 2 billion players, we know it’s going be critically important that our services find large audiences and Facebook clearly gives us that opportunity,” explained Spencer.
To achieve that, Xbox is looking to Facebook Gaming–another alternative to Twitch that has gained far more popularity with Facebook’s wide user base, and has far more reach than Mixer. Spencer says that xCloud will integrate with Facebook Gaming to allow you to launch games from streams you’re watching–a feature Google Stadia advertised before launch, but one that hasn’t yet materialized.
While Mixer partnered streamers are free to transition over to Facebook Gaming, two of Mixer’s biggest acquisitions have reportedly opted to return to Twitch. Ninja has already started streaming on Amazon’s platform, after leaving for Mixer over a year ago. Another Mixer partner, Gothalion, has chosen to stay with Microsoft and make the move to Facebook gaming.
Xbox xCloud doesn’t have a release date yet, but is expected to launch later this year alongside the Xbox Series X as Microsoft continues to push into more service-based products. The hardware powering xCloud will also be upgraded in 2021 to support Xbox Series X titles and possibly PC games streaming.
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