Mixer’s Last Day Was A Ghost Town – Kotaku

Illustration for article titled Mixers Last Day Was A Ghost Town

Image: Mixer

It’s been a month since the news of Mixer’s closure hit streamers like a Microsoft-branded bag of hammers. At the time, it was heartbreaking. Some spent years building careers, only for the floor to fall out from under them. Today, the platform shuts down for good. Time for one last hurrah, right? Not really.

One month after the shutdown announcement, Mixer is a ghost town. This makes sense; as soon as streamers learned that the blue-hued Twitch competitor was not long for this world, they started heading for purpler pastures. Now, while plenty of Mixer channels are technically “live,” many of them are broadcasting reruns or still images that advertise former Mixer streamers’ shiny new Twitch (or, in some rare cases, Facebook) channels. For most of today, it was legitimately difficult to find a truly live channel on Mixer’s front page. In my experience, it was easier to locate 24/7 streams intended to let people sit in chat and mine Mixer points—soon to be unobtainable—in games like Forza and Paladins.

Big names have been nowhere to be found. Smaller streamers have popped in to give their communities someplace familiar to congregate, if only for old time’s sake.

“I’m glad I went live now that y’all have a place to come chit-chat for a little bit,” Mixer partner BeeYoo told her viewers after hopping on for a casual stream. She then performed some farewell songs on ukulele, including a rendition of “You Really Got A Hold On Me” by Smokey Robinson And The Miracles that replaced “you” with “Mixer” at one point.

Illustration for article titled Mixers Last Day Was A Ghost Town

Image: Mixer / BeeYoo

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Another channel, YouPlay, which lets viewers cooperatively play games à la Twitch Plays Pokémon, came out of retirement to provide Mixer users a similar service, albeit for a couple weeks.

“YouPlay used to be a popular channel back in 2016 and 2017, but we were always here and tried to overcome technical issues that made us retire,” reads YouPlay’s “About” section. “If you’re fairly new to Mixer, you might not know this channel. But that doesn’t matter… We’ll have one more ride on Mixer until it will eventually be shut down.”

Today, YouPlay viewers have been playing Pokémon Yellow.

“I like how we are chilling watching Pokémon on the last day Mixer is alive,” said one viewer in chat.

“I was going to play an obscure game on Twitch, but then I decided being here was a better idea,” said another. “And so far, I wasn’t wrong.”

Some streamers have noticed how muted the response to Mixer’s conclusion has been. A streamer named SagaBoy K chatted about it with an audience of just four or so viewers. “Even on Twitter, you’re not seeing [many] messages of people saying goodbye,” he said.

In chats that were active, which were few and far between, Mixer’s shutdown was a common focus of discussion. Specifically, viewers wanted to know when Microsoft would finally shut the lights out for good. Nobody seemed to know, though Mixer staff have said in a couple streamers’ chats that the site will stay up until July 22 ends in all timezones, at which point it will then begin coming down little by little. It’s been surreal to watch streamers go through their usual motions in games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds—nobody seems to have really planned any big, atypical going-away bashes—only for viewers to say things like “see you later… if Mixer is still here.”

Mixer streamers and users Kotaku spoke to agreed that complicated feelings toward the platform and its demise prevented everybody from getting the band back together to play the hits one last time.

“The way that it was announced and the way that the whole shutdown was handled was very poor,” Pixel, a web developer who turned building Mixer tools into a full-time career, told Kotaku in a DM. “Just before the shutdown there was also a lot of drama with one of the staff members calling streamers ‘slaves,’ and I think after all of that a lot of people simply don’t want to give Mixer any kind of attention. Yes many of us lost our home of 5+ years, and while I’m sure many are sad about it, there are likely a fair few that simply don’t want to talk about it.”

MissHenley, a former Mixer partner, echoed that sentiment, saying that the platform’s radio silence on that issue continues to be a sore point. “It’s a sour note for many of us—feeling ignored and without closure—after all the time we invested into supporting and building the platform we called home. It’s why you see many people tweeting and feeling like the platform failed us,” she said in an email. “What’s left of Mixer today is a hollow shell of a platform. Had Mixer been able to address the industry issues, and reached out to staff and partners prior to the announcement of closing, the news may have been slightly better received. People were mad they were left scrambling, especially the full-time creators on the platform. It’s hard to not feel like it was a very cold and formal public break-up with a 30-day eviction notice on top of it.”

The silver lining to this quiet, emotionally confusing conclusion is that many streamers don’t need to dip into Mixer’s well anymore. They’ve got decent momentum going on Twitch.

“Some partners that moved to Twitch are now seeing some of the highest sub numbers they’ve ever had,” said MissHenley. “It’s heartwarming to see the community rally around each other to celebrate successes. Even though these accomplishments are personal to the streamer, it’s a huge win overall for the community.”

Pixel is not doing quite so well. He’s still trying to transfer his tools over to Twitch, a process he says has caused “a lot of issues and stress, as many things are very different and it is quite hard to adapt.” However, he and a friend, a video editor and YouTuber who goes by the handle WASD, put together a website and video to commemorate the good times they and others had on Mixer. The centerpiece is a video highlighting numerous streamers who once called the platform home. The shutdown left a bitter taste in their mouths, but that hasn’t completely blotted out their fond memories of Mixer and Beam (Mixer’s name before Microsoft purchased it).

“For four years, I produced a ‘Streamers of the Week’ YouTube series featuring Mixer streamers,” WASD told Kotaku in an email. “Also, Meffy (another Mixer streamer) and I developed an annual award show. So I’m sad to lose years’ worth of time and effort that were spent helping to strengthen and promote the streamers of the site. But I’m also grateful to have met some of the most talented, encouraging, inspirational people that have literally changed my life. I also met the love of my life on this site. So I will always have fond memories of Beam and Mixer.”

As the day has gone on, more and more Mixer streamers have trickled in to say their farewells, some inspired by others who made unexpected appearances earlier in the day. Some are just chilling out and playing video games, as though it’s just another day. Others are drinking, hosting impromptu group streams, and embracing the surreal delirium that accompanies the final hours of something everybody figured would last forever—or at least for a couple more years.

Mixer as an entity, however, remains conspicuously silent.

“Mixer itself hasn’t tweeted since the day of the announcement,” said MissHenley. “The account hasn’t shared any nostalgic pictures or interacted with anything any members of the community have posted. The empathy within those simple actions likely would have gone a long way.”

Illustration for article titled Mixers Last Day Was A Ghost Town

Image: Mixer / GoldilocksAndTheBear

However, some Mixer staffers have spent the day waxing nostalgic on Twitter and in Mixer streamers’ chats.

“My heart is broken, but I am so proud of how badass all our partners and community are,” said Mixer influencer relations head Jen “Solice” Nichol in Mixer partner GoldilocksAndTheBear’s chat, as GoldilocksAndTheBear drank and laughed alongside fellow streamers Tonzy and FMBz. “We changed the industry.”

The view out the rear-view window isn’t quite so rosy for streamers, who were forced by Mixer to quickly move on out of necessity.

“We, as content creators, are independent business people,” said WASD. “We need to be self-driven to thrive. But it is a shame that this Mixer era was cut short on such a sour note.”

“We’ll always have our memories,” said MissHenley, “but it’s going to take a while before all of us will be able to look back on the time we spent on the platform and be able to smile without anger in our hearts.”

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