Mixer shuts down, partners with Facebook Gaming

Could shroud and Ninja end up on Twitch again?

mixer ninja
Image via Microsoft

Mixer’s four-year-long attempt to dethrone Twitch is over.

The Microsoft-run streaming serving said today that it’s shutting down and merging with a former competitor, Facebook Gaming.

The move could mark the end of an important period in the streaming industry, when multiple competitors, including Facebook Gaming and YouTube, invested huge sums of money in an attempt to chip away at Twitch’s sizable livestreaming audience. While Facebook and YouTube’s services likely aren’t going anywhere, Mixer’s closure demonstrates that it’ll take much more than money and celebrity talent to take down Twitch.

Mixer struggled to reach the scale it needed to compete with Twitch or fulfill the needs of content creators. Those creators included Ninja and shroud, formerly two of the biggest streamers on Twitch, who the company lured to the platform in big-money deals in its attempt to grab market share.

“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,” Mixer said in a press release.

With Mixer shutting down, shroud and Ninja will be free to return to Twitch. Mixer, however, said it’d continue to honor its agreements with streamers if they transition to Facebook Gaming.

While content creators aren’t obligated to go to Facebook, Mixer and Facebook Gaming have set up a way for content creators to make a transition from Mixer to Facebook Gaming once Mixer’s services officially end on July 22.

Despite gobbling up two of Twitch’s most-watched content creators late last year, Mixer struggled to keep up with other platforms, including Facebook Gaming and YouTube Gaming. At the end of April, a StreamElements report showed that the platform had notably less viewership than all three of the other major streaming websites. Meanwhile, though all four streaming websites saw growth, Mixer saw the smallest year-over-year growth of just 0.2 percent, even though they poached some of Twitch’s top talent.

While Twitch has maintained its status as the most-watched gaming-endemic platform, YouTube and Facebook have had a growing presence in the market that Mixer has lacked.

Facebook attempted to negotiate and have Mixer’s top talents move to Facebook Gaming but shroud and Ninja declined the offer, according to esports journalist Richard Lewis. Each reportedly received full payment for their respective deals and are allowed to negotiate with whatever platform they please.

Ninja has not been live on Twitch since last year following his move to Mixer, but there’s evidence that he may return to the platform following Mixer’s shutdown in the “About” section of his channel page. His description now says that he “streams VALORANT and Fortnite.” The quote is notable because prior to his exodus from Twitch, VALORANT had not yet been released. 

Ninja said on Twitter today that he has “some decisions to make,” but he didn’t give further details about where he’ll stream next. There’s no indication where shroud intends to stream next.