Microsoft has thrown in the towel in its fight against Twitch, saying Monday that it will wind down its Mixer livestreaming service and redirect users to Facebook Gaming instead.
The death knell will sound on July 22, when the redirect to Facebook Gaming will officially occur. Microsoft didn’t actually say how many users Facebook Gaming has, though each month more than 700 million people play games, watch gaming videos or engage in gaming groups on Facebook, it said.
It’s an ignominious end for Microsoft’s streaming aspirations, which took flight in 2017 when Microsoft transitioned its Beam streaming service into the modern Mixer platform. Microsoft tried to build a user base with features such as Sparks and other ways for users to interact with fans, including an early feature where viewers could even influence the way in which the streamer played the game.
Like Twitch, Mixer attracted more than just game streamers, though that was the primary purpose of the platform. But livestreaming on Mixer—even though it was eventually integrated into the Xbox and had hooks to Windows PCs—just never became as popular as Amazon’s Twitch, with an average of 1.4 million concurrent viewers in the first quarter 2020, according to thebusinessofapps.com.
“It became clear that the time needed to grow our own livestreaming 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,” Microsoft said in a statement. “To better serve our community’s needs, we’re teaming up with Facebook to enable the Mixer community to transition to Facebook Gaming.”
If this sounds familiar, it’s the same approach that Microsoft took to winding down Groove Music, its music service in 2017, the same year Mixer was formally established. Then, the company redirected users to Spotify, transitioning their playlists as well.
Microsoft hasn’t said what will happen to streamers and community members that have already invested in the Mixer platform. Mixer signed key streamers like “Ninja” and “Shroud” to lucrative deals to woo them to Mixer. “I love my community and what we built together on Mixer,” Ninja said on Twitter. “I have some decisions to make and will be thinking about you all as I make them.”