Inside sources have come forward claiming that the downfall of Mixer was due to reasons other than just viewer count.
Microsoft surprisingly announced the shutdown of their video game streaming service Mixer towards the end of last month, blaming its slow growth that was “out of measure with the vision and experiences we want to deliver to gamers now,” according to Xbox head Phil Spencer.
Now it seems that the tech giant’s official statement may not have been entirely forthcoming with the reason for the service’s closure, as former employees share their side of the story.
This is the letter I sent to @XboxP3 and @satyanadella shortly after I was fired from Microsoft. This should clearly demonstrate that Mixer's issues, including the toxic working conditions related by @MilanKLee were known and ignored.https://t.co/G4tHz2tApT
— WesWilson 👻 (@weswilson) June 23, 2020
The service’s issues may have also been internal
According to Business Insider, they spoke to six ex-Mixer employees including co-founder Matt Salsamendi. The insiders cleared the air surrounding the streaming service’s undoing, attributing it to a culmination of different issues.
From poor business planning to a reportedly toxic workplace, it seems there’s a whole lot more to the story than merely losing a popularity contest.
Mixer stopped focusing on the small streamers
In the beginning, Microsoft allegedly decided that they would focus on nurturing and expanding their less-known streamers, a move that would be far more cost-effective than the alternative of going after multi-million dollar big shots.
Shortly after announcing that decision, however, the tech company went the completely opposite direction, pirating Twitch celebrities Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek for ridiculously large sums of money.
Ninja moves to Mixer: a thread. This is good for everyone. For Ninja, gives him a solid base of income + establishes him as a brand-friendly streamer on a brand-friendly platform + enormous leverage through Minecraft / Fortnite demographic.
— Devin (@DevinNash) August 1, 2019
Unfortunately, bringing in the big guns didn’t have the desired effect, as viewership hardly increased at all the following year. According to former Mixer employee Milan Lee, Ninja’s and Shroud’s viewers came to watch them and them alone, never sticking around when the streamers were offline.
Salsamendi chimed in by explaining that Microsoft should have invested more in the communities that were forming on Mixer naturally.
“It’s kind of like putting a skyscraper up in the middle of a desert. You have to build infrastructure around it, from a community standpoint, for those occupants of the skyscraper, right?” mentioned Salsamendi.
The streaming site’s technical side needed polish
Apparently, streamers who decided to give Mixer a shot were constantly plagued with technical issues such as broken streams and outages. Instead of dealing with the issues, however, the company reportedly focused on spicing up the platform’s interactive features.
“We had a lot of very creative and scrappy engineers eager to keep our tech ahead of our competition. Sadly, instead of capitalizing on those people, they sidelined them. Then they focused on creating bells and whistles rather than increasing stability and reliability,” said ex-Mixer employee Wes Wilson.
Former employees accuse Mixer’s environment of being toxic
Soon after the announcement of Mixer’s demise, Milan Lee—who happens to be an American of color—revealed that during his stay in Microsoft had failed to take action against a director who he accused of making racist comments.
Wilson had his own set of complaints regarding the same director and the state of the company’s “toxic working conditions” which he said went unnoticed. According to the ex-employee, those grievances had a hand in his dismissal.
I'm Wes Wilson
I was a Microsoft Full Time Employee who got pushed out of Mixer by the same toxic manager that said those things to Milan Lee.
I tried playing by the rules, filing my complaints with my superiors and Microsoft HR. It did not work.
I am still looking for work
— WesWilson 👻 (@weswilson) June 23, 2020
While the main reason for Mixer’s shutdown remains its lack of popularity compared to bigger streaming platforms such as Twitch and YouTube, it seems there were a lot more issues lying beneath the surface. Several former Mixer employees believe the shutdown was a way for Microsoft to “sweep the problems under the carpet.”
Featured image courtesy of Mixer