Recent headlines are buzzing about Ninja’s new livestreaming home, but what is Mixer?
Despite increased buzz since Ninja’s announcement that he’d exclusively stream on the platform, Mixer has been around for over three years—first launched as Beam before being acquired and later rebranded by Microsoft.
Mixer is available online, through iOS and Android, and integrated into the Xbox One as standard. Currently, it’s not available on other systems like the PS4 or Nintendo Switch.
The tremendous spike in popularity of Mixer is almost entirely due to Microsoft signing on Ninja, the most watched Fortnite streamer in the world, in an exclusive deal. The news was particularly striking as Ninja previously streamed on Twitch. The change has left many in the gaming community to question what his move will bring.
But first, let’s explore the differences of Mixer vs Twitch.
When comparing Mixer vs Twitch, notable differences between the platform features make them unique propositions for streamers and viewers:
The most obvious difference to address is Mixer’s current user base. The platform has always been significantly smaller than Twitch and YouTube, mostly operating on the periphery of the streaming landscape.
Twitch has an average of 15 million daily active users and 100 million monthly active users, while YouTube Gaming has 1.5 billion monthly active users. Mixer attracts only 10 million monthly active users.
Creators & Streamers
Platform streamers and creators are numbered 69,000 on Mixer in Q4 2018 compared to 1.5 million on Twitch and 750,000 on YouTube Gaming.
Content on Mixer was watched a total of 89 million hours in Q1 2019, still a long way off from Twitch’s 2.7 billion hours of content watched in the same period.
Mixer’s Top Streamer
There’s little doubt that Amazon-owned Twitch is going to be a tough nut for Microsoft to crack. We have seen, however, the substantial impact that Ninja’s arrival has had on the platform’s numbers. After less than a week on the network, he had already become the most popular streamer on the site with over 1 million subscribers.
In addition, the app has had a surge in popularity, rocketing from no. 747 all the way to no. 1 on the App Store, doubling the amount of downloads. On Android, the app was hovering just outside the top 10 on the Google Play Store.
Most have been quick to assume that a big check from Microsoft was the primary motivation for Ninja to leave Twitch and start exclusively streaming on Mixer.
Both parties have kept radio silence on what exactly the deal is worth, the only information available is educated guesses from fellow streamers familiar with these kinds of contracts.
We can’t be sure what Ninja is receiving as compensation, but we can be fairly confident that he was tempted by a superior offering to his Twitch earnings, and is likely to be on a multi-year contract.
Aside from the money aspect, it’s worth remembering that Twitch has become oversaturated with streamers vying for the attention of the huge audiences watching games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and League of Legends.
The competition between streamers is intense, and the well-documented burnout felt by creators is becoming a real concern. As the face of Fortnite streaming, and arguably the game itself, a lot of pressure has fallen on Ninja himself.
The move to Mixer offers him lucrative earnings and the ability to potentially branch out into other games away from Fortnite. There are already rumors that the move is in anticipation of supporting Microsoft’s Project Scarlett and video game Halo Infinite as it is about Mixer itself.
This is the question on everybody’s lips. Will audiences remain loyal to Ninja and keep using Mixer? Or will they find someone new on the familiar platform, Twitch?
We know that downloads and viewership of Mixer have increased consistently over the last few years. Q2 2019 saw another improvement for the year for Microsoft, with 119 million hours watched, up from 89 million in Q1 and a 37% year-over-year increase—and this was before Ninja’s involvement.
These are positive signs for the platform and seem to demonstrate the kind of potential audience numbers that creators will consider when choosing which streaming service to make their home.
Furthermore, many in the Twitch community feel that the platform is lacking in monetization opportunities and creators are suffering as a result. Ninja himself has previously expressed discontent with Twitch for the “rigorous schedule” streamers need to keep up their income and a community which is only “out to look for the next guy.”
Not all streamers will be offered the same incentives that Ninja has received, but if Mixer can give frustrated Twitch creators compelling reasons to try out the platform and be successful, there’s ample opportunity for migration to the livestreaming network.
Mixer is Microsoft’s way of attempting to gain entry into the lucrative livestreaming industry. On top of the recent Fortnite World Cup, we’ve also seen the emerging mainstream popularity of TwitchCon and the willingness of major commercial brands endorsing streamers.
The monetization options being offered to Mixer streamers mirror many of the existing avenues available on Twitch.
Channel subscriptions are a little more expensive at $7.99 on Mixer compared to Twitch’s $4.99 for a basic account. A tipping-like tool called Embers—Mixer’s answer to Twitch’s Bits—allows fans to essentially purchase digital emotes that they can donate to their favorite streamers.
Mixer also has a platform currency, Sparks. Viewers can earn Sparks passively by simply watching streams. They are then transfer these to the streamer, who can effectively cash them in once they reach a certain threshold.
Mixer at present doesn’t have third-party advertising on its platform, though it does offer streamers the opportunity to earn “synthesized ad revenue” through display ads on their page.
As we previously mentioned, there are parameters for streamers wanting to be partners on Mixer, but they are generally easier to attain than Mixer’s rivals, making it a good destination for streamers starting out.
Brands may not be able to directly advertise on Mixer yet, but, as we’ve seen with Twitch endorsements, there’s plenty of room for marketers to raise awareness by partnering with livestream gaming influencers.
We may see a similar trajectory with Mixer influencer marketing as we have with Twitch, which at first saw gaming brands regularly promote on the platform, before mainstream brands tested the waters and then upped their livestreaming influencer campaigns.
With the livestreaming marketing already established, a smaller but still significant viewer base, and a comparatively engaged audience, we can expect major brands to be confident in pushing Mixer influencer marketing campaigns from the outset.
The next time someone asks, “What is Mixer?” you’ll have the information to answer it.