Five days ago, Microsoft’s game streaming platform, Mixer, closed for good. This pushed some of the big streamers back to Twitch and left a lot of people wondering what happened. Well, some company insiders revealed that Mixer was struggling for quite some time, both with service issues and internal workings.
Business Insider featured interviews with former Mixer employees, including the company’s co-founder Matt Salsamendi. Mixer was started back in 2016, initially called Beam, and was created by Salsamendi and James Boehm. The service focused on low-latency streaming, allowing for better interactions between its users and the streamer. Mixer had promise, but struggled to compete against Twitch’s large following.
Insiders have stated one of the biggest reasons for Mixer’s failure was spending tens of millions of dollars to bring Twitch’s top talent to the platform (allegedly). A former employee stated that back in 2017, the company hosted a lecture called “Why not just hire PewDiePie?”, arguing that boosting smaller streamers would be better than poaching big names to the platform.
This argument didn’t stop them from reportedly paying Ninja $20–30 million to come over to Mixer. They later made a similar deal with Shroud. However, this didn’t have the intended effect.
Milan Lee told Business Insider that “the addition of Shroud [and] Ninja.. was supposed to ultimately bring over their communities and help grow the platform from the top down. [But] their communities never really stayed.”
Even for such well known streamers, Mixer never attracted the audience they saw on Twitch. Ninja had just over 3 million followers on Mixer, but still has nearly 15 million on his inactive Twitch profile.
Internal problems didn’t make matters any better — focus on new features meant compromised stability, resulting in outages. Both the founders left in late 2019, which led to a drop in employee morale. A video leaked earlier this year showing a Mixer meeting were the company’s new head seemed to berate employees for their morale.
Accusations about the company’s work environment being toxic and allegations against Mixer streamers were shared days leading up to the announcement of Mixer’s closure.
Microsoft is now partnering with Facebook Gaming, though many Mixer streamers have chosen to return to Twitch.