Facebook Gaming has no method of directly streaming from consoles. Microsoft refers to plans to bring that feature out in the future but had nothing ready for this announcement. This U-turn also arrives less than a year after Microsoft announced it had signed Tyler “Ninja” Blevins to a multi-year Mixer contract — and Blevins wasn’t the only streamer who moved to the platform.
Polygon reports that in exchange, Microsoft is getting Project xCloud support on Facebook Gaming. The app is winding down on 22 July 2020. The sudden move comes after Microsoft has put substantial efforts into its gaming-centric streaming service, acquiring streaming rights to some of the biggest esports personalities like Ninja and Shroud.
The company launched its Mixer service in 2017 after acquiring the gaming startup Beam Interactive in 2016. According to an interview in The Verge, top streamers like Ninja won’t be compelled to move to Facebook Gaming and will be able to rejoin Twitch if they choose. Microsoft’s gaming chief Phil Spencer attributed the shutdown on the service’s inability to catch up with competitors:
We started pretty far behind, in terms of where Mixer’s monthly active viewers were compared to some of the big players out there,” says Microsoft head of gaming Phil Spencer in an interview with The Verge. “I think the Mixer community is really going to benefit from the broad audience that Facebook has through their properties, and the abilities to reach gamers in a very seamless way through the social platform Facebook has.
As per data from SensorTower, year-to-date downloads of the app on the App Store and Google Play were down 23% in 2020 compared to the same period of 2019, with the app seeing 3.4 million downloads this year. The company says their data shows that the app has been installed about 21 million times in total.
Microsoft, whose latest generation Xbox console is slated for launch later this year, said it will now focus on developing its XCloud video game streaming service and integrating it with Facebook’s gaming app.