Less than a year ago, Microsoft made big waves when it announced that streamer Ninja would leave Twitch and sign a lucrative contract with Mixer to appear on the rival game streaming platform. But on Monday, Microsoft announced it would abruptly shut down Mixer and partner with another rival service, Facebook Gaming.
The move came as a surprise in the industry, especially given how much money the company had put into signing away high-profile gamers like Ninja and Shroud to build a bigger audience for Mixer. But Xbox Chief Phil Spencer posted an update on Monday that explained why Microsoft would end Mixer later this week and partner with Facebook Gaming.
Ultimately, the success of Partners and streamers on Mixer is dependent on our ability to scale the service for them as quickly and broadly as possible. 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. To better serve our community’s needs, we’re teaming up with Facebook to enable the Mixer community to transition to Facebook Gaming.
Initially many wondered what would happen to the deals the company had signed with the streamers. But according to reports, the two biggest stars Microsoft signed on to help grow Mixer will opt out of their deals, making a lot of money in the process and becoming free agents.
Sources familiar with the deal have informed me that while Facebook did try and negotiate to keep their big partners both Shroud and Ninja opted out. They have received their full payments and as of midnight yesterday were free to engage in talks with other platforms. Game on.
— Richard Lewis (@RLewisReports) June 22, 2020
Sources: Facebook offered an insane offer at almost double for the original Mixer contracts of Ninja and Shroud but Loaded/Ninja/Shroud said no and forced Mixer to buy them out. Ninja made ~$30M from Mixer, and Shroud made ~$10M
Ninja and Shroud are now free agents
— Rod "4475 SR & Immortal peak" Breslau (@Slasher) June 22, 2020
Microsoft said its existing partners will move over to Facebook Gaming, with the Mixer service effectively shutting down on July 22. The move to Facebook is expected to help its upcoming xCloud game streaming service, but certainly came as a surprise on Monday given the resources the company had put into making Mixer work in a competitive landscape dominated by Twitch.