Real Talk for Mixer from a Loyal Streamer

Mixer, we need to talk.

Note: I’ve written a follow-up post you may also want to check out when you’re done this one.

Mixer’s been my exclusive streaming home since 2017 and I have no plans to change that. I love the near-zero chat lag and I especially love the community. I’ve stuck with the platform through multiple exoduses, confident in them because it takes time to find your footing when your competition has such a head start and because Microsoft never does anything for the short-term.

However, the current exodus that’s still underway at time of writing is I believe, rooted in some very real concerns that at least on the surface, appear to have gone ignored for far too long. I believe it’s time the platform and its management (whomever that is since the founders “left”) get some real talk. I love Mixer, want it to succeed and want it to be the best place it can be for streamers and viewers alike. It’s with that determination and love that I write this.

At present, I can’t blame any long-time user of Mixer for thinking that development of the platform has all but ceased. They’ve spent rumoured millions to bring over some massive streamers but resources for improvement seems to be a dry well. We have features that are still in beta, others that were announced forever ago that have never materialized and others that have been broken for going on two years now with no fixes in sight. Many are also complaining of stability issues, though I thankfully haven’t had any myself.

Rather than exhaustively detail all of the concerns I and many others have, let’s just rapidly bullet-point a bunch of the common ones, in no particular order:

  • Why is the API still so unreliable? Sites like KeyMailer that I rely on for developer relationships still often aren’t notified of my streams. For that matter, third-party tools like CouchBot and SmartHost often have functions break because the API doesn’t respond properly.
From SmartHost’s management page. This shouldn’t be a thing.
  • Despite repeated assurances, why is Mixer still not making more effort to promote true variety streams or just anything beyond the latest releases and the same few Battle Royale titles?
Top Games. Top Games never changes.
  • Why are analytics still broken and unreliable after almost two years? They have improved a little bit lately but I still can’t count on them to be reliable when sections are still demonstrably broken. This makes approaching game developers and potential sponsors very difficult.
My analytics page at time of writing. Note the two sections on the right.

That’s only a rough list of the most common issues. If you ask around, you’ll hear plenty more. In fact, leave yours in the comments if I missed them! You’ll also notice a lot of those items are links. Like all Microsoft products and services, Mixer has a UserVoice site, a place where the community can request features, comment and vote up the ones most important to them. In theory, this is supposed to help drive Mixer’s development priorities but Mixer hasn’t responded to anything posted there in at least a year if not more. Most of the top voted ideas haven’t even been acknowledged, must less actioned. This gives the appearance of at best apathy and at worst, disdain towards the needs of the community.

This ties into a greater communication problem from Mixer. Their social media presence has become bare bones. No one is told anything of future plans or kept up-to-date with goings on at the platform. Maybe partners are but that’s kept behind NDAs. If we do get something announced, it’s often a pie in the sky idea like FTL over RTMP that fizzles into the ether. From the outside, we’re seeing a platform that appears to be stuck in development mud, a wildly imbalanced ratio of streamers to viewers and increasing dismissal from the wider streaming community. Are things set to improve? We don’t know because you won’t tell us.

I regularly approach game developers and PR agencies who either still don’t know what Mixer is, only vaguely know of it since you got Ninja or think it’s “an Xbox only platform.” I am certain that I’ve been denied opportunities I might have otherwise gotten because I’m on Mixer and not Twitch. Nothing has been done to counter these perceptions within the games industry or among the streaming community at large. We want to advocate for your platform but right now, other than FTL and the community, I can’t think of a compelling reason why someone should focus on streaming here instead of somewhere else. That hurts me to say.

When problems are witnessed and no meaningful explanation is provided, people will substitute their own. It’s happened before, that’s what’s happening now and it’s why we’re on at least our third exodus event. To be fair, none of the major content platforms are good at communication but that’s not a cliff Mixer should be happy jumping off of with everyone else.

Please understand, I don’t say this out of anger. Frustration yes, but not anger. I love the core values of Mixer and even with everything I’ve stated above, I would sooner quit streaming than try to start over somewhere else, especially Twitch. It stings to see the platform stuck where it is and to see streamers I respect have to announce with sadness in their voices that they have to move on if they want to continue growing. With the resources and brand awareness of Microsoft and Xbox behind Mixer, there’s no reason you can’t make a massive push and become a formidable force in the streaming world. I want you to do that and so do so many others.

I implore you, please say something–anything–to us. Let us know what’s coming, let us know that you’re listening to us and let those of us who continue to be stubbornly loyal know that our patience is going to pay off. I’ve worked damn hard to build up what I have on your platform and I don’t want to lose it. Please let us work with you to make this place the kind of awesome we all know it can be.

What you do guys think? Are you a fellow streamer on Mixer or just a concerned viewer? Let me know what you’d like to see Mixer improve in the comments and please share this with your communities so Mixer staff have a better chance of seeing it.

See the follow-up to this post here.

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16 Responses to Real Talk for Mixer from a Loyal Streamer

  1. The Mixer feedback site is something that I try to promote to those that ask but, it’s filled with posts that are a year old or older. There isn’t much traction seen on the site. Staff responses are ancient in the world of streaming. I’ve tried to do my part in upvoting threads that are close or even the same, just so that they’re given a chance to be seen. The latest action from Mixer was the release of Embers for all, and even that was very soft spoken to the masses. There’s a feeling from Mixer that yes, there’s some awesome stuff coming but we’re not going to say anything and then it’s going to be months if at all that something minor is released.

    I’ve expanded my streaming to include other platforms as I fee not one will give me the opportunity to grow my brand and channel. This is something that Mixer will need to except. No longer will people choose one over the other. It’s down to which one has the better feature set and support from the community. Mixer can hit it out of the park with adding a discover-ability method, a social media sharing segment and a way to foster Mixer grown creators over those that were bought in.

  2. Ricven007 says:

    As a streamer that’s new to Mixer and came over from the competitor, I agree with what’s posted. Especially the advertising of the streaming service as a whole. I see the competition advertising on just about every social media platform there is as well as ads on TV. We all know Mixer has the foundation and can become something huge, but we have to stop crawling per se and promote our products. If it was the new Xbox coming out it would be everywhere, so why can’t the streaming service as well?

    I’ve also reached out to a couple of gaming companies who are huge on Twitch and asked them to come over to help grow the streamers who stream their game on Mixer and have been basically told no, because nobody is over here. As a smaller streamer and only been on Mixer for a couple of months, I love the community, but at the same time am starting to see the flaws everyone is mentioning.

    It saddens me to see the game I play and stream on Mixer be lucky to have 100 viewers and that’s when a big change is made to the game, but on the competition it’s always above 10k viewers. I’ve been trying to bring some viewers over but am always told, I’m too small of a streamer to say anything or Mixer doesn’t have the things to keep the viewers. I honestly don’t have all the answers but as a community we have ideas.

    Plus nothing against partners etc, but being the same ones always featured and the same ones always in the coming soon, how is Mixer helping others grow, they’re not. That’s one thing I heard before coming over is how Mixer randomizes people and pops them on the front page to help them grow. I know the network I watch and talk to which are both big and small streamers alike, have never been on the front page since I started over here. If that process has changed for any reason, I agree with the posts above, just tell us something. I too have heard people looking to leave and go to a competitor because things are not changing etc. so please Mixer just open the voices and ideas and let us hear you.

    • Parallax Abstraction says:

      I’ve been featured on the front page twice, both times relatively close together. Both of those were in early 2018 and it’s never happened since.

      Feel free to drop your channel link, would like to check you out!

  3. orbitJUICE says:

    I agree with much that has been said. Honestly, it is very hard to disagree with it. Here are my thoughts as someone who has been on the platform form since 2016.

    1) HypeZones are killing the platform. They reward people with exposure for playing certain titles. All of the most played games on Mixer are also HypeZone titles. Coincidence? Humans will take the path of least resistance. If there is an option for people to play a certain title for a fast-track to “Internet Famous” they’ll take it. While they are novel idea, they don’t work. That’s how Mixer has multiple partners with over 200,000 followers and less than 300 people watching, and less than 20 chatting. They’re getting viewers, they’re getting follows but, no-one is a “repeat customer”. Why? This leads to…

    2) Variety. The variety on Mixer is lacking. Why? Because everything about the site screams Xbox and HypeZones. There are murmurs that Mixer wants to promote variety, however they have taken 0 steps to do so. The talent choices that have acquired show this as well…

    Ninja – Fornite
    Ewok – Fornite
    Shroud – FPS/BR

    The only semi-variety content they have acquired is Gothalion. In the meantime people who are streaming variety are getting looked over. And when I say variety, what I mean is:
    – Not a BR
    – Not an FPS

    In 2018 leading up to Fallout 76 I streamed through the entire Fallout series. Starting with Fallout 1 from 1997. What a painful grind that was. Some days there would be no-one watching. I would go a solid week without 1 follow. Was it anything I was doing wrong as a streamer? Nope. Because when I streamed for 1 day at Twitch during my Fallout 1 playthrough, I peaked at 76 viewers and gained about 30 follows. If you stream variety at Mixer, you are punished for it by virtue of the fact Mixer only promotes select titles.

    3) Mixer does not advertise outside of the United States. 2018 Mixer announced they would have a booth at PAX Australia. A bunch of us made arrangement to attend. 6 days later they announced they would not have a booth and James and Jen would be attending. Nothing says “we care only care about America” like bailing on the biggest convention in the Southern Hemisphere. Which leads too…

    4) Mixer’s marketing team is terrible. Mixer consistently markets hard to their warm audience. The people who know about or know people at Mixer. Case in point: 2018, booths at:
    PAX South
    PAX East
    PAX West

    PAX South
    PAX East
    E3 – The Mixer Dome
    PAX West

    Guess what? The people who attend these events already know about you. Guess what? How much have the numbers changed after dumping all that money on those events?

    The Mixer Dome was HUGE, it was a massive expense. How has it paid off? You would have been better off putting that money into Nvad3 and Seansy so they’d stay.

    There’s an old saying “Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument”.

    Do you think spending more money (raising your voice, i.e. The Mixer Dome) was going to improve your platform? They’re not doing business with Mixer over Twitch for a reason, and its not the spend at events and conventions.

    Outside of the US no-one knows who Mixer is. I live in New Zealand. When I go to meet-ups, events, Cons here, I am usually the only person there that streams on Mixer.

    Case in Point:
    One of the biggest PC retailers in New Zealand posted a tweet today asking for a list of Kiwi Streamers… all the people on Twitch were referring each other. I was the only person from Mixer…

    Which leads too…

    5) Mixer has more streamers than viewers. It’s hard to grow on a platform that doesn’t market themselves well, promotes certain titles, and has more streamers than viewers. Which leads to…

    6) Your partnership requirements are ridiculous. I’ve applied for partnership twice and have been turned down twice due to low concurrent viewers.

    When I applied I was mainly playing Paladins and Realm Royale. Being in New Zealand, streams would start around 9pm (midnight PST, 3am EST). At that time most of Mixer’s audience (North America) is asleep. For Paladins and Realm Royale I would consistently be in the top 5 streamers. Routinely in the #1 spot.

    But because my concurrent viewers were low, I was denied partnership. Am I mad? Nope. But it did make it clear how little Mixer understands (and continues to not understand) their own platform.

    Viewership during my stream times are low. I routinely have more viewers than some partners during that timeslot.

    So I ask, how doe a streamer:
    who doesnt play hypezone titles,
    is routinely in the top 5 of their game category,
    on a platform:
    that doesn’t market themselves outside America,
    that has more streamers than viewers,
    who’s audience is sleeping during their stream times…

    get partnered?

    I took it to Mixer’s User Voice almost a year ago, 120+ upvotes… No-one from Mixer has chimed in…

    Which leads to…

    6) Where is the Community Management? I see posts on socials. I see people at the cons. Yet the User Voice where the community is interacting and sharing ideas is pretty much abandoned by staff. Which gives the clear appearance Mixer doesn’t have Community Managers, more professional meme and GIF posters.

    Or if by “Community Management” you mean the Community Action Team who respond with the same copy pasta and give you no idea or confidence if anything is happening with your submission.

    Am I mad? No. Am I disappointed? Absolutely. I made the switch to exclusively streaming on Mixer hoping it would be different than Twitch. Really, it turned out to be more of the same just with a lot less features and a lot of technical instability.

    I have burned so many hours building my own solutions to make up for Mixer’s lack of features ( as one example). But to be perfectly honest, given due to my timezone i’ll never have enough concurrents to make partnership, the instability and lack of features on the platform; there are more benefits being a Twitch Affiliate than there are being a Mixer Partner.

    And that makes me really sad.

  4. mitori says:

    That is excellently put and I appreciate you taking the time to writing it out. It’s a great insight many (especially non-partner) streamers can relate and get behind. The disdain the general streaming/gaming community has for Mixer is disheartening and demotivating. People don’t take Mixer seriously – and at this point it might be giving them a reason to. Which sucks! I want Mixer to be great and do better. With that, I move on to my own suggestions:
    – Game Integrations and Collaborations (where’s Borderlands 3 interactivity like there’s for Twitch? why’s there Twitch plays The Outer Worlds, when Microsoft OWNS Obsidian?)
    – Service Integrations (Discord, StreamElements (work with them to make their product better, you both benefit from that), Windows Game Bar, GOG Galaxy 2.0, other bots, etc.)
    – App for the Switch ASAP – before twitch has an app on there
    – Apps for other devices, already mentioned in the blog post itself
    – Buying streamers is a solid strategy, but not if you stop at 4 big ones. Now get variety streamers – Girlfriend Reviews, UpIsNotJump, Jericho, SuperButterBuns, streamers that ALSO have a big YouTube channel and that would be such a massive cross-polinating promotion machine.
    – Chat History. This feature has been broken from launch, you might as well fix it.
    – Fix the player and FTL. A video engineer has been talking to Mixer about FTL and why it has the issues it has, and has been ignored for over 2 years. Start listening to her and implementing changes based on her feedback.

    As another non-NA/non-US streamer I mirror the reaction that Mixer is virtually non-existent outside of the US. I went to Gamescom 2019 really excited about the prospect of seeing a Mixer booth there and was sorely disappointed. Nobody knows about Mixer here and Mixer isn’t trying to fix that. European streamers, partners first and foremost have pointed out how European servers are worse than the American ones.

    If Mixer doesn’t turn it around (or at least start turning it around) within the next 6 months, it’ll just be another Skype, and I will be grieving for the greatness it could have had, and that I will move on.

    • God, that ending line makes me wanna CRY. I abandoned Skype HARD when I felt it had lack of features and ads started appearing where they shouldn’t. Also felt other people had already left the platform, so it was an easy choice when I heard about other platforms – went -> Slack (got too “business” like -> Discord and fell in love with Discord.

      I really hope that Mixer will prosper – but sadly, Microsoft really only knows about US, and at best, english speaking countries. We do have a Microsoft Online store, but there’s ZERO and I mean ZERO Mixer things in it. In general there’s a lot of things non-english countries don’t get from Microsoft/Xbox/Mixer. I really wanna stick it out, I really do… but this exodus and this article has me disheartened.

  5. Anonamoose says:

    One of the things that has really bugged me is, we’ve applied for partner 3 times. The first time Mixer still had their heads about them and had the number of concurrent viewers monthly at 20 or higher. We were then denied on a fluke due to bad internet issues one day. The next two times we have been denied because of CCU. With 26 and 32 for the first and second time. In the denial email they literally say that you HAVE to play a game that has an audience. If no one is watching the game you are playing, they don’t want you. So they are basically saying, if you don’t play one of their top games, your out of luck. They don’t seem to want variety anymore… And we’ve had partners try to defend it by saying “Well I was partnered playing a non popular game” but that was then. Things are changing and not in a good way.

    • And I have heard people getting denied, but playing a popular game. It really seems like the partnership process is as inconsistent as the moderation process is on the competitor.

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  9. Thanks for writing.

    #ProudToBeMixer2015 I’ve put more time and effort into this platform than any other. I moved from watching on Twitch to watching on Mixer in 2015. I never had any intention of streaming, but the community within a short amount of time made me think, “let’s give it a shot”. This was long before the Xbox wave.

    As a long term user. I really don’t have much to say, and that’s a bad thing. It’s been 5 years and the only things that have had an impact are you changed the name to Mixer and added co-streaming.

    I want to be kept up to date. For instance, one day I load into mixer to do my moderating duties, And find that My Primary modding tool “Quick mod” or “mod wheel” was gone. No notification before hand, no adjustment period to the new hotkey system. We were just left in the dark.

    That leads into my other concern. You don’t make people aware of new features enough.
    – Quickmod. I know that because of the community. There’s no easy to use documentation on the feature. Maybe add that into the moderator section of the Academy?
    – Mixer chat commands. “/addhearts” and the like are unknown commands, not listed and not documented.
    They are just two examples. Please fix this stuff.

    Lastly keeping time and keeping promises. You mentioned in “Our commitment to you” the following:
    “We recognize that community channel moderators are the unsung heroes that help to keep our streamers’ channels safe and fun. They work tirelessly behind the scenes, removing content that doesn’t adhere to a channel’s unique guidelines, and removing people from channels when necessary due to continued poor behavior. For these channel moderators, we’re working on a new Moderator Program that provides improved tools and options to support their work, while also publicly recognizing and rewarding their invaluable contributions to the community.” – July 23, 2019. Now I do a significant amount of moderating around Mixer. In fact I mod for over 40 people. It’d be nice to see something given back to us mods for being the front line of defence for your platform.

    All in all I think things can be improved and I’m hopeful for the future of the platform.

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