Mixer Shuts Down, Showing Again Why You Don't Need To Freak Out By Copycat Competitors

from the getting-twitchy dept

In all sorts of intellectual property conversations, one common refrain is something like "If you let people copy others, those copycats will be just as successful without having to work to develop a product." This ire is most commonly aimed at big companies that see something successful and simply come up with their own version of it. And, to be generous, there certainly does seem to be something less than fair about that. But then you take a step back and watch just how often these copycat startups fall flat on their faces and you have to wonder why anyone worries about this stuff at all. Does nobody remember Google Plus?

Other companies have shown that it often builds more trust to not care about copycats any further than poking fun at them. Again, this is because the innovator almost always has a massive leg up on the copycat competitor, rather than the other way around. The most recent example of this is Microsoft's Mixer platform, which was supposed to be a streaming service geared towards video gaming, with Twitch being the competition it was trying to "copy" off of. Well, even with the corporate power and war chest of Microsoft behind it, the platform failed and has since been offloaded to Facebook Gaming.

The shutdown starts today, with a transition plan laid out by Microsoft for Mixer streamers. Mixer Partners will be granted partner status with Facebook Gaming, and the platform will honor and “match all existing Partner agreements as closely as possible,” according to the blog detailing the change.

Several big-name streamers, such as Ninja and Shroud, moved from Twitch exclusively to Mixer this year. On Twitter, popular streamer King Gothalion announced he would be moving to Facebook; earlier this year, he signed a deal to stream exclusively on Mixer.

Even with some pretty big streaming names on the service, Mixer failed. Why? Well, because Twitch had already built up an audience and trust within the public for its product. Microsoft didn't do enough to make Mixer stand apart from Twitch. Instead, the strategy appeared to roughly be just throwing money at some high profile streamers and expect audiences to flock to the platform because of it. That didn't work, however.

Those streamers will now be free to move on to either Facebook Gaming or back to Twitch, where most of them began. Where the majority decide to go will be quite telling, but I imagine Facebook will throw money at this the same way Microsoft did. And if Facebook doesn't do enough to make Gaming stand out and special compared with Twitch, it'll likely fail in exactly the same way. What we've seen from Facebook Gaming thus far, however, does have some more intriguing social and DIY elements.

But the real lesson here is that building a copycat startup isn't some get rich quick scheme. Or, it is, but it rarely works. So if you create a great platform, build a great community, and deliver great content... you probably are wasting time if you're worrying about copycats.

Filed Under: big companies, competition, copycats, mixer, startups, streamers, video streaming
Companies: microsoft, mixer, twitch

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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 26 Jun 2020 @ 11:21pm


    Beam/Mixer was a decent product under the hood, but Microsoft essentially killed it by the disastrous XBox One launch. The integration with that ecosystem was great, but because they handed so much business to Sony this gen it didn't really stand a chance no matter what they did. A shame they chose not to keep it around for the next gen, but I understand the decision.

    "Was that due to the competition or would they have done it on their own? Hard to say."

    Competition will always be a factor. The exact effect can't always be quantified, but there's a reason why defacto monopolies are a bad thing generally.

    "I watch a number of small streamers who have built their communities on Mixer and are making the move to Twitch, but it's not been an easy transition for them."

    ...but the move will likely be worth it as the potential audience there is much larger. More competition, for sure, but more chance of growing too.

    "A very small number of streamers are big enough to not feel a sting from this sudden shutdown and Microsoft's scrapping of the platform for parts."

    I'll be slightly harsh here - if your fans don't want to make a move to a different platform to watch you when they have no option to stay where they are, they probably not really your fans. Actual fans will make the effort to move, especially since there's basically only 2 other major places they can really go to in order to watch that type of content at all.

    I feel for the guys who lose out, but if a simple message saying "Mixer is being killed, here's our Twitch and/or Facebook links" does bring across viewers, they likely weren't real fans to begin with.

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