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Microsoft Nixing Mixer on July 22, Transitioning to Facebook Gaming Partnership

Well, good thing Ninja got that guaranteed contract. In the most surprising news of the day, Microsoft announced via a blog post that Mixer, its second-class citizen of a streaming service, will be shutting down on July 22. The closure announcement coincides with Microsoft announcing a Facebook Gaming partnership deal that is “a key part of a broader effort that Xbox and Facebook Gaming are embarking on, bringing new experiences and opportunities to the entire world of gaming,” according to the blog post. The move comes after a year’s worth of efforts on the part of Mixer to compete with prime competitor Twitch in bidding wars over the exclusivity of content streamers such as the aforementioned Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Cory “King Gothalion” Michael, and Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek. All of these streamers have been released from their contracts according to a report by The Verge.

The announcement comes at the strangest of times; when streaming is bigger than ever thanks to a worldwide pandemic and online gaming content is dominating viewership numbers on YouTube. Even stranger is the combination of Mixer and Facebook Gaming, which has to be the gaming equivalent of if the West Coast Avengers and Justice League Detroit teamed up in an effort to beat The Legion of Doom. Said in the announcement by Microsoft, “Ultimately, the success of Partners and streamers on Mixer is dependent on our ability to scale the platform 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 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.”

It’s also hot on the heels of some accusations of racism being levied at Mixer management, as well as a broader conversation about streaming providers needing to provide safer spaces with stronger intolerance against racism and sexual harassment than they currently offer. It’s unclear if partnering with a third-party in Facebook gaming will enable Microsoft to better control that or not.

That transition will happen in July when Mixer begins redirecting to Facebook Gaming, the new home for Microsoft streaming, apparently. Those currently partnered with Mixer will receive the same status at Facebook Gaming, and “The Facebook Gaming team and Creators will help expand the vision that Mixer has always held around the community and building a platform that is inclusive and supportive of each other,” whatever that means.

We’re in unprecedented territory here, but one thing seems for certain: Twitch is still the undisputed king of the live stream, even as they can’t keep their own streamers from getting hit with copyright strikes.