Mixer Officially Shutting Down, Ninja, Shroud, and Others Released from Contracts
Microsoft’s streaming service Mixer has announced that it is shutting down and releasing several of its key talent, including Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek, to pursue other contracts.
This is a huge win for Twitch and other competitors, who have surely been missing the viewership and fanbase of these two streamers, among others.
Mixer Will Work with Facebook Gaming to Transition Their Partners
Mixer has announced that in sunsetting their services, their partners will be able to transfer to Facebook Gaming under new contracts. The contracts of Shroud and Ninja were up for the same deal, but according to veteran esports journalist Richard Lewis, they both declined. Furthermore, Rod “Slasher” Breslau has reported that Facebook Gaming’s offer was nearly double the value of their original contracts with Mixer. The reasoning for their declining the deal was not disclosed, but it’s not hard to guess: they both likely thought that their value would be higher elsewhere and might want to return to their fanbases on Twitch.
“It became clear that the time needed to grow our own live streaming community to scale was out of measure with the vision and experiences we want to deliver to gamers now, so we’ve decided to close the operations side of Mixer and help the community transition to a new platform,” Microsoft said in the press release. “We will work to transition the Mixer community over the next few weeks. Starting on July 22, all Mixer sites and apps will redirect users to Facebook Gaming.”
It’s unclear if the partnerships with Facebook Gaming would be exclusive or not, but several of its highest viewership streamers, such as Disguised Toast and ZeRo are not. This means that even if someone were to sign a contract with Facebook, they might be able to also stream on other platforms like Twitch.
A War Lost for Microsoft
With the streaming space becoming ever more crowded, a large part of the reason Mixer is shutting down is that Microsoft just did not see the return on investment they hoped for. This is despite a nearly $30 million contract for Ninja’s services – money that they are still on the hook for, among other contracts. Twitch is simply a juggernaut in the space and at this point might be impossible for competitors to really catch, especially as the service is still getting new features and has a massive head start on companies just now beginning the game, like Mixer.
Of course, this does not even mention YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming, both of which have been trying to secure deals and one-up Twitch on both the streaming and esports fronts. Unfortunately for the former, the deals for Overwatch League and Call of Duty League, while generating some interest, have failed to live up to the hype either generated on Twitch.
The End of the Big Streaming Deal Era?
Prior to shutting down, Mixer certainly inflated the value of streaming personalities and their exclusive contracts. But as this experiment has now clearly failed, time will tell what the long-term effect of this will be on the negotiating power of streamers. They now have one less place, and massive war chest, to bank against when they are renegotiating their contracts, and it’s quite possible we won’t see a $20-$30 million contract for an individual streamer ever again.
There could be a correction in the contract value of streamers as soon as their negotiations come due again, and it will surely be a detriment to now up-and-coming streamers who no longer have the threat of Mixer to bank against.