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.