The app is winding down on July 22. The sudden move comes after Microsoft has dumped considerable efforts into its gaming-centric streaming service, acquiring streaming rights to some of the biggest esports personalities like Ninja and Shroud. Microsoft couldn’t spend its way into meaningfully competition with Amazon’s Twitch and Alphabet’s YouTube Gaming.
The company launched its Mixer service in 2017 after acquiring the gaming startup Beam Interactive in 2016.
Microsoft announced that when the service sunsets, it will be transitioning partnerships to Facebook Gaming and redirecting its users to the service as well. The partnership between the two is a T-Mobile and Sprint partnership of sorts, as the two were clearly trailing far behind the YouTube Gaming/Twitch duopoly. The Facebook partnership goes deeper than just watching streams; Microsoft will integrate their xCloud game-streaming service into Facebook Gaming so users can quickly play titles that they see inside the service.
According to an interview in The Verge, top streamers like Ninja won’t be forced to migrate to Facebook Gaming and will be able to rejoin Twitch if they choose. Microsoft’s gaming chief Phil Spencer pinned the shutdown on the service’s inability to catch up with competitors:
We started pretty far behind, in terms of where Mixer’s monthly active viewers were compared to some of the big players out there,” says Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s head of gaming, in an interview with The Verge. “I think the Mixer community is really going to benefit from the broad audience that Facebook has through their properties, and the abilities to reach gamers in a very seamless way through the social platform Facebook has.
According to data from SensorTower, year-to-date downloads of the app on the App Store and Google Play were down 23% in 2020 compared to the same period of 2019, with the app seeing 3.4 million downloads this year. The company says their data shows that the app has been installed about 21 million times in total.
The announcement came in the midst of Apple’s WWDC keynote, so fair to say that Microsoft was likely aiming to minimize attention on this high-profile shutdown.