Microsoft's answer to Twitch is giving streamers a clear path to earning money with their channel
- Mixer is Microsoft's livestreaming platform, offering an alternative to Twitch and YouTube.
- Mixer recently started rolling out a series of new upgrades to the platform titled Season 2, giving streamers new ways to generate fan engagement and revenue.
- Season 2 improvements to Mixer will continue into 2019, focusing on creator support, viewer progression, and interactive features.
Mixer, a Microsoft-owned livestreaming website, is in a battle with Amazon's Twitch to win the hearts and wallets of game streamers.
With its recently introduced pack of new features, Mixer is trying to position itself as the best venue for viewers to support their favorite streamers and for streamers to thrive financially. The update, which Mixer is calling "Season 2," is focused on promoting more ways to interact on the platform and more ways for streamers to get revenue.Livestreaming has had an undeniable impact on the way that people, and video game fans specifically, interact with their entertainment and build community. By engaging directly with their audience, popular streamers have been able to establish their own communities on platforms like Mixer, Twitch, and YouTube, without constantly relying on specific games. But to be successful, rather than just popular, streamers have to find ways to monetize their audience.
Read more: Twitch raises incentives for creators
Video game streamers are primarily dependent on monthly subscribers and donations for revenue, due to inconsistent returns from advertisements during their broadcasts. In April 2017, Twitch, the most popular livestreaming platform for video games, introduced a virtual currency called Bits, giving players an official way to donate to multiple streams in smaller increments. Every Bit donated is equal to one cent earned for the streamer; Twitch charges $7 for 500 Bits, meaning they earn roughly $2 for every $5 donated to different streamers in Bits.
Here's how Mixer's 2 currencies will work
With the launch of Season 2, Mixer plans to use two separate virtual currencies that allow viewers to support their favorite streams in different ways. Users on Mixer can passively earn one currency, called "Sparks", by watching streams or streaming themselves. Sparks can be spent to trigger special chat interactions, called skills, which include animated stickers, GIFs, simple games, and other effects that appear over the Mixer stream overlay. The effects are considerably more involved and intentionally more interactive than the emotes offered by Twitch.
Spending sparks while watching will help boost the creator's channel, and streamers become eligible for a payout after reaching certain spark milestones. The second currency, Mixer "Embers", has not been released yet, but will only be available for cash purchase. Embers will be able to trigger exclusive skills and can be used to tip streamers directly.
Whether it's Sparks, Embers or Bits, the point of the currency is to encourage viewers to support what they're watching. As season 2 continues Mixer plans to provide added incentive for spending sparks with a progression system for viewers. Spending more sparks with the same streamer will give the viewer access to more unique skills and channel-specific perks.
Behind the scenes, Mixer will also be implementing automatic bitrate switching for a smoother viewing experience from mobile devices or less stable internet connections. Creators will also have greater control over their stream feed with the implementation of the RTMP standard used by Twitch and YouTube and the adoption of Mixer's FTL streaming protocol on more devices.
The Mixer development team plans to release Embers and the viewer progression system in the coming weeks while solidifying the other Season 2 improvements. Sparks and skill abilities are already live on the platform and creators are able to use their new tools to set clear goals for their stream. Visit Mixer to learn more about Season 2 and try out Microsoft's streaming platform for yourself.