For years, Twitch has been the leading platform for video game streaming. When the PlayStation 4 launched and early into the Xbox One lifecycle, all I used was Twitch. This changed last year when Mixer (previously known as Beam) was integrated into the Xbox One. Microsoft having a dedicated streaming service was a no-brainer to me. I already used my Xbox One religiously, so it made sense to use the service Microsoft spent a lot of money to acquire. After streaming a few games, I stopped using Twitch (for streaming) entirely. While relatively new to the market, Mixer does streaming a lot better than its competition. In fact, I think Mixer can be the best weapon in Microsoft’s arsenal.
Games are great; services are better.
When Microsoft revealed that the company acquired Undead Labs, Ninja Theory, Playground Games, Compulsion Games, and opened The Initiative, I lost my cool while sitting in the press conference. Xbox falls behind in the games department, but it’s clear that the brand is setting up for a stellar future, full of first-party video games. Though games are currently lacking, the services are strong and help Xbox grow. Xbox Game Pass, Game Preview, and third-party services like EA Access are fantastic quality of life enhancements for the console. Additionally, a dedicated streaming service like Mixer helps players grow a fanbase. Not only that, but there is no latency on Mixer, which means that lag is basically nonexistent. For streamers (veterans or newcomers), a seamless stream provides a stellar experience between the people playing the games and the audience watching. When I streamed The Jackbox Party Pack, my viewers got to play with me in real time.
Shows, tournaments, and sponsored content.
Look, Twitch does these things. I watch Evo every year on Twitch. It’s something I look forward to watching with my friends. Seeing the best players in the fighting game community compete against each other is a sight to behold. Over the past year, Mixer has tried to become the next big platform for tournaments and shows. With only a few episodes to its name, Inside Xbox is a show that I look forward to watching every month. It’s a cool little show that highlights upcoming Xbox games, features a few reveals, and highlights Xbox fans in the community. In terms of tournaments, the Halo World Championship streams on Mixer. The same applies to the Gears of War 4 competitive scene. An interesting partnership is between Microsoft and Hi-res Studios. The two companies made an agreement in which the Smite esports league will exclusively stream on Mixer. Despite being in its infancy on the streaming space, Mixer is quickly becoming a powerful platform.
Streaming is tough but Mixer’s community is supportive.
Streaming is tough. I recently have dedicated my free time to streaming some games. I only have 14 followers but plan on continuing to grow a community. Fortunately, the Mixer twitter account often communicates with fans and other streamers. They constantly show support and encourage people that use the platform. There are also unofficial accounts that retweet people when they start streaming. The outpour of support from people wanting to help streamers is admirable. It’s also cool when people you know find success on the platform. Former Enthusiast Luke Lohr has been streaming consistently since Sea of Thieves launched in March. While only being active on the platform for a little over three months, he has climbed to almost 250 followers. Between his enthusiasm with connecting with his audience, the online community that rallies around him and other streamers help boost his personal following. As someone who aspires to become a successful streamer down the line, seeing people I know take full advantage of the platform is astounding.
Conclusion: The future is bright for Mixer.
Mixer is the new kid on the block but it’s making a mark on the industry. Microsoft has invested in a platform that is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. While it’ll take a long time, there’s a chance that Mixer can eventually overtake Twitch. Xbox One owners have the ability to stream through Mixer directly from their console. Low latency allows for more fluid streams. Shows and tournaments allow for a platform with a diverse lineup of content, and the community helps make Mixer a welcoming environment for people looking for a place to stream. Mixer won’t be the leading streaming service overnight. In fact, there are many uphill battles to climb. Fortunately, I think Mixer is up for the challenge. Xbox has invested in a promising platform. With the new studios Microsoft acquired and the partnerships being made regarding the streaming service, Mixer can potentially be the perfect place for the latest reveals, biggest competitions, and it can also help the latest streamer break out into success. Mixer has become an important part of my gaming career, and I can’t wait to see what happens to the platform in the coming years.