Mixer: Microsoft's New Livestreaming Platformby: Dustin Hawley | Thursday August 15, 2019
The gaming world was recently shaken up as Mixer, the newest streaming platform to hit the market, has been receiving extensive coverage the past few days after Tyler Blevins, aka “Ninja” signed an exclusive deal to move his streaming exclusively to Mixer, opting to move away from current streaming giant Twitch.
This is an explosive move for Mixer, and a devastating loss for Twitch being that Ninja had over 14 million followers and 250,000 paid subscribers on the platform. That roughly translates to over $1,000,000 a month in recurring revenue shared by both Ninja and Twitch. With Twitch having to bid farewell to one of (if not their biggest) star, their loss is Mixer's gain, with Microsoft's streaming company seemingly activating a top influencer marketing strategy by acquiring the services of Ninja.
So what is Mixer?
Mixer is a live streaming platform that was acquired by Microsoft in August 2016. Similar to its rival Twitch, it is primarily used for live streaming video games. But why did Microsoft launch Mixer? Originally named Beam, the company was bought in 2016 as a means of acquiring a platform to compete with both Twitch and YouTube Gaming.
Twitch has been king to this point, with Mixer only hosting about 70,000 streamers compared to the 1.6 million streamers on Twitch. But bringing Ninja into the fold is likely to cause these numbers to change dramatically. He has already amassed over 1 million just a few days after the deal was made, and that growth is all but sure to continue over the coming weeks and months.
This is a big power play for Mixer, who assuredly is looking to leverage the influence of Ninja to attract users to their platform. What is unique about Mixer? And what does it have to offer that the other streamers don't?
Microsoft's Mixer has a few features that separate itself from its competitors. One of the more interesting features it offers is MixPlay. MixPlay allows viewers and streamers to simultaneously interact like never before. Mixplay also allows streamers to create their own on stream buttons and objects that viewers can engage with. It gives streamers an option to allow the viewers to make decisions for the player at the moment.
MixPlay is essentially blurring the lines between viewer and the streamer. MixPlay also has a “share controller” feature included, which allows for a viewer to take control of a streamer's game in real-time, paving the way for a new level of interactivity.
Mixer is looking to hang its hat on a unique feature for its viewers and streamers that - at the moment - no other platform offers. That feature is co-streaming. It allows up to four streamers to merge their streams seamlessly and ensures all the streams are in sync.
When it comes to streaming speed, Mixer is at the top of the heap. Mixer claims streamers can stream with less than one second of latency, and go on to say that “streams are so fast and so clear, it’s like everyone is in the same room.”
The Great Debate: Mixer vs. Twitch
Mixer versus Twitch will now become a debate amongst those thinking about getting into streaming and choosing the right one can be a difficult decision, depending on what your goals are. Let’s start with the pros and cons of Twitch.
Obviously, Twitch has been around longer and is more established. When you think of a streaming platform, your mind likely goes straight to Twitch. They've been around since 2011 and are owned by Amazon, boasting over 10 million daily users.
One of Twitch’s strongest features is it's ease of use, as it is relatively simple to find exactly who and what you are looking for. Another advantage is that Twitch is also on both the major consoles (PS4 and Xbox One), which makes it very easy to stream directly from those consoles. The next advantage is also a disadvantage. Twitch has such a high volume of streamers all competing to build an audience and following that it is hard to stand out. However, if you can put in the work and build a following, it becomes much easier to grow that audience and bring in additional viewers to your stream.
Yes, growing a fanbase is easier said than done, and building a following solely on Twitch is very difficult. But with hard work, it is possible to build a strong audience. Users who raise brand awareness through social media are likely to accelerate their growth.
Being the new kid on the block, Mixer has a much smaller daily user base than Twitch, even with the arrival of Ninja. Depending on how you look at it, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. If you are a new streamer and are just starting on Mixer, you may be able to build a solid viewer base more quickly due to the lack of competition at the moment. These viewers will also likely stick around if you manage to separate yourself from the pack.
And because Mixer is a Microsoft owned company, it is optimized for many Microsoft products like Xbox One and Windows 10. So if you are a stream exclusively from an Xbox One, Mixer is definitely worth checking out. One downside of Mixer (at least currently) is that it seems to have less variety in terms of streaming content than it's rival Twitch. Mixer content is almost exclusively gaming content, while Twitch is far more varied.
Mixer is just now starting to come into its own, and the acquisition of Ninja is guaranteed to give the company a big boost in both their user base and overall visibility. But Mixer still has a ways to go before they rival the current top dog in Twitch. The next couple of months will be telling for the Mixer, so keep an eye out to see what announcements are to follow. Though it's only the beginning, Mixer may very well become a household name in the not-so-near future. Stay tuned!
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