Ninja, Shroud and now you too!? Thinking of making the jump to Mixer? Well, here is everything you need to know.
This year has been an interesting one for Microsoft’s Mixer (formerly known as Beam). In the last few months alone, the platform has gone through some tremendous transformations, losing both of its co-founders to bringing on two Twitch heavyweights with Ninja (and more recently) Shroud joining its ranks of celebrity streamers.
Whether you are a die-hard bleed purple Twitch fan thinking of jumping ship or just looking to get an idea of what’s on offer, we wanted to prepare a handy guide telling you everything you need to know about this brand new platform, how it compares to the likes of Twitch, and MOST importantly build a case for why you may want to consider making the switch.
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of what makes Mixer different, it’s worth mentioning that both of our streaming apps XSplit Broadcaster and the new and improved XSplit Gamecaster both have native streaming support to Mixer, meaning easy login, authentication along with widgets for chat and alerts being automatically set up. In the case of XSplit Gamecaster, you can also choose from hundreds of beautiful overlays pre-configured for use with Mixer too!
So you now know what it takes to stream to Mixer, but why should you bother? What does Mixer have to deserve your attention, and how can a new Microsoft backed platform compete with the likes of Twitch?
Give me that sweet sweet FTL
Right out of the gate, one of Mixer’s most touted features is that it gives their users the ability to stream in super-low latency, which essentially means less delay between you “the streamer” doing something, and the time it takes for your viewer to see it happen. Dubbed FTL or the Faster Than Light streaming protocol, this feature aims to offer users sub-second delay as opposed to RTMP’s more standard delay which can be anything upwards of 5 seconds. But what does this mean for you?
Well, ideally it means less stream lag for your audience, meaning a practically instantaneous back and forth between you and your viewer, which can help create a more authentic rapport with your audience and build stronger connections with your community. Well, that’s the promise anyway. As with most of these types of features, your mileage may vary due to a number of different factors such as unstable connections or fluctuating internet speeds which can in (the worst case), offer a less than ideal presentation (we’re talking dropped frames and stuttery video). So make sure to test a little and see if you can find that sweet spot. The good news is Mixer’s Low Latency FTL protocol is fully supported within XSplit making it easy enough to get started with this rather unique feature.
A whole new way to interact with your audience
Another area Mixer touts is the gamified nature and level of interactivity on offer to audience members. Now admittedly this is not wholly unique to Mixer with Twitch closing the gap somewhat through its bevy of extensions. However, it is fair to say that Mixer does execute things with a little more panache, offering some neat visual feedback for both streamers and viewers through its XP and sparks system. Just like an RPG you can earn XP and level up to unlock new features, or even influence the gameplay on stream through Mixplay. it’s pretty unique and creates quite a sticky user experience which when utilized properly could very likely lead to better viewer retention. That’s the promise anyway.
A chance to stand out?
Now take this one with a huge pinch of salt, but one of the most common reasons for why you should consider streaming to Mixer is the ability to stand out from the crowd. With Mixer being one of the younger platforms, its audience and pool of creators have yet to grow to the megaton levels of Twitch or YouTube, supposedly meaning that as a new streamer you have a better opportunity to gain viewers similar to the early gold-rush days of Twitch.
This essentially gives you an advantage, going up against a far less competitive community giving a shot of being the big fish in the still relatively small (but rapidly growing) pond. Which, I dunno…while there have certainly been some success stories on Mixer, with a few folks streaming professionally, it is still very much a hustle. So maybe not make this your sole reason for jumping across. Props to Mixer though for proactively showcasing up and coming streamers on their homepage, and having some well thought out community guidelines.
Co-Streaming for everyone
So look, Twitch has Squad Streaming, but right now it’s still only limited to members of its partner program. However, Mixer lets you try this feature out for free without the need for partnership status. Co-Streaming essentially allows for you and up to three friends to simultaneously stream to a single channel. This can be especially great for team-based multiplayer games such as PUBG, Minecraft or Apex Legends creating a streamlined presentation where the viewer can easily hop between each player. Even more, mind-blowing, you can even co-stream with your friends from an Xbox One, eliminating the need for any sort of 3rd party app entirely. But, you didn’t hear that from me. Please use XSplit.
Get Hype in the HypeZone
Dumb name, awesome feature. Mixer’s HypeZone is like a never-ending highlight reel except happening live. Thanks to some rather cool integrations between Mixer and various game developers, Mixer’s Hypezone cycles between final moments of matches in a variety of games such as PUBG, Fortnite, and Apex Legends. Essentially giving you all the meat of those final chicken dinner moments without the slow-paced build-up. This can be a great platform for more skilled streamers to showcase their wins and can be a pretty addictive viewing experience for those watching. It’s a neat if relatively niche feature that won’t be for everyone but is very cool nevertheless.
You really really like Xbox.
Mixer is owned by Microsoft, creators of Xbox. If you really really like Xbox, Mixer has had a knack so far of rewarding that loyalty. Whether it’s the native Mixer integration on console or the array of official Microsoft game-related community streams, Mixer really is the best choice if you are a fan of the platform and its growing ecosystem. Even better Mixer streamers can earn money through Xbox Gamepass if a viewer signs up through their channel, offering additional opportunities to earn revenue which brings us on to…
Easier ways to start earning
Unlike Twitch, which has some fairly lofty restrictions to become an affiliate and the coveted Twitch Partner, Mixer offers a variety of options to create engagement and start earning money. Mixer’s use of donation systems and currencies (such as sparks embers and subscribers) provides it’s streamers with more monetization options some of which very similar to Twitch albeit, with a much lower barrier of entry.
Is Mixer for you?
Ultimately whether you decide to stream to Twitch, Mixer, Facebook or DLive, there is no fast pass to becoming the next Ninja or Shroud. However, the folks over at Mixer have definitely put together an appealing package. With features geared towards offering streamers minimal lag while offering audience interaction and unique player participation perks such as co-streaming, Mixer is definitely worth checking out.
For now though, in terms of raw users and viewership Twitch is still king, but that doesn’t mean you should sleep on Mixer. Plus by offering a range of additional perks like no platform exclusivity, xbox integration and of course the vague possibility of viewer success due to not being the biggest. You could do a lot worse.
The beauty of streaming is the ability to create your own content and choose where to put it, and thanks to XSplit it really is simple to set up and start streaming to Mixer just to try it out. In the case of XSplit Gamecaster, it’s as simple as logging in with your Mixer account, choosing a theme and hitting stream.
So what about you? Are you thinking of streaming to Mixer? Have you tried already? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment below or join our discord where you can tell me why I’m wrong in real-time! It will be great!