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Microsoft packs in its gaming voyeur venture

Facebook has announced that Mixer, Microsoft’s gaming streaming service, will be folded into its own as the internet giant admits defeat in the segment.

Although it might be considered a remarkably odd service for anyone older than 15, the gaming streaming segment is growing and growing very quickly. Watching some play an online video game or watching someone else watch an online video game while providing commentary is a baffling one, but the same could have been said about social media in 2008.

With the likes of Twitch and Facebook Gaming nurturing audiences in the tens, if not hundreds, of millions, this is potentially a very lucrative space.

Alas, Microsoft could not make the opportunity work and will soon migrate all its users to the Facebook Gaming platform.

“It became clear that the time needed to grow our own livestreaming community to scale was out of measure with the vision and experiences that Microsoft and Xbox want to deliver for gamers now, so we’ve decided to close the operations side of Mixer and help the community transition to a new platform,” a Mixer blog post stated.

“Following Microsoft’s decision to close the operations side of Mixer, we’ve partnered to give the Mixer community the option to transition to Facebook Gaming,” the Facebook Gaming blog cooed. “We believe in building welcoming gaming experiences where creators can thrive, and we’re proud to invite everyone in the Mixer community to Facebook Gaming.”

Launched in 2016 by Matthew Salsamendi and James Boehm, Mixer (then known as Beam) was billed as a live streaming platform for gamers which offered low-latency services via a streaming protocol known as ‘faster than light’ or FTL. After being acquired by and integrated into integrated into Microsoft’s Xbox division in 2017, the service was supposed to be the internet giants challenge to Twitch, however Microsoft was not able to scale the platform as imagined.

Although the transition and migration to the Facebook platform is likely to be a bit cumbersome, this could end-up being a very profitable move for the ‘content creators’. After all, few companies are as good as monetising the unmonetizable as Facebook, and its core platform offers access to billions of users around the world. This is scale which Microsoft could only have dreamed of offering to its partners and‘content creators.

In terms of monetization, Facebook Gaming offers a few different options:

  • Stars: Users can purchase ‘Stars’ as well as animated, virtual gifts to send to content creators. For every ‘Star’ which is sent, the creator receives $0.01 USD
  • Fan Subscriptions: effectively allows creators to build their own micro-communities on the platform which are hidden behind paywalls. Creators can customise these pages and charge whatever monthly fee they see fit
  • Online ads: adverts are embedded in videos or featured on pages

While this move might sound like it benefits Facebook more than Microsoft, let’s not forget that Mixer has likely suffered because attention has been demanded elsewhere, its cloud gaming platform Project xCloud for example.

As part of the transaction, the Xbox ecosystem will be brought closer to the Facebook platforms, while Microsoft has promised future opportunities for Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud. One would presume that Microsoft will be granted the opportunity to leverage the Facebook audience to monetise these new services in some manner.

This might be Microsoft admitting defeat in the gaming voyeurism segment, but it is also an indication priorities have been diverted elsewhere. Why not merge Mixer with Facebook Gaming if it means other bets benefit from the partnership in the future? Facebook wants to supercharge the Gaming platform, and as its interests do not conflict with Xbox Game Pass or Project xCloud, this could be a mutual backscratching partnership. This should be viewed as a win-win situation.


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