Mixer is shutting its services down for good in less than three weeks. But to call it an abject failure ignores a substantive and lasting impact the livestream platform has left on Twitch and the personality streaming industry.
When Ninja announced his big move to Mixer from Twitch last summer, it was one of the most revolutionary decisions any streamer had ever made. By taking his talents away from Twitch in favor of a reportedly more lucrative deal, Ninja opened the floodgates for streamers in terms of earnings potential.
Before talent agency Loaded and Ninja negotiated a deal to stream exclusively on Mixer, the competition between Facebook Gaming, Mixer, YouTube Gaming, and Twitch was so egregiously one-sided that content creators had no leverage.
While it wasn’t technically a monopoly, all of the power was in Twitch’s hands.
Ninja is perhaps the most influential gaming personality in the world. But without a platform that could provide him with a competitive deal, it’d be hard for him to justify uprooting his entire brand to move to a different platform.
Furthermore, the move by Shroud to Mixer that came just a couple of months later made it even more clear that Twitch didn’t have this monopoly on talent that was previously assumed.
After Ninja’s deal was announced, some content creators may have thought about courting other platforms for deals. But other streamers reasonably could have just thought that a lucrative deal to another platform was something that could only be accomplished by the most successful streaming personality in the world.
Mixer buying up some of the most-watched talent that Twitch had to offer created a feeding frenzy among platforms and content creators—and it wasn’t just the best of the top influencers getting paid, either.
Deals by Facebook and YouTube to lock up streamers like Disguised Toast, CouRageJD, and Valkyrae have proven that even mid-tier streamers in terms of viewership have immense value to a platform.
Twitch wasn’t going to be able to keep content creators without offering them larger contracts and providing them more in the way of resources and features.
While some influencers have left Twitch, many have stayed with the platform. TimTheTatman, Lirik, Summit1g, and Pokimane, among others, have all signed deals to remain on the platform. But before Mixer waged its initial war by stealing Ninja, these deals weren’t out in the open.
Before Mixer, streamers like Summit1g didn’t need to strategically word every answer they gave to a viewer who had some questions about the future of his channel. The leverage in negotiations wasn’t on the side of the content creators because it was simply assumed that personalities would stay on Twitch.
When Pokimane was in negotiations with Twitch, she was tightlipped about where she’d ultimately end up streaming. But at the same time, she explained exactly what Ninja and Mixer’s move meant for the industry.
“God bless Ninja for making that move because now all platforms have to put a dollar amount on streamers,” Pokimane said. “So literally, people are paying me and all my friends to do what we were going to flippin’ do for the next two, three years of our lives anyways. So that’s how I feel about it. I just feel like we’re all so freaking lucky.”
Mixer might be gone, but that negotiating power that the platform has given streamers isn’t going anywhere. Even though content creators won’t be able to stream on the platform soon, the service that Mixer provided in terms of empowering influencers will last forever.