Microsoft’s vice-president of gaming, Phil Spencer says he “doesn’t have any regrets” but admits he is “disappointed” about the collapse of its streaming platform, Mixer.
Speaking to GamesIndustry, Spencer says that Microsoft just couldn’t grow Mixer to “the scale it needed to be,” despite pumping millions of dollars into signing some of the world’s biggest streamers to industry-changing exclusivity contracts, such as Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins and Michael ‘Shroud’ Grzesiek. However, he says that he has no regrets and commends Microsoft’s ethos of “trying things that might not work.”
“It's obviously a disappointment when you try to grow something to the scale it needs to get to and you don't get there,” Spencer says in the interview. “I don't have regrets. You make decisions with the best information you have at the time, you apply your best effort, and we're in a creative industry. We are in a hits-driven industry. And if we get into this space that we get afraid of disappointment that we won't achieve what we're trying to achieve as an organisation… I think it's fundamental to us that we're not afraid of trying things that might not work. And that is just the art of making video games, and frankly game platforms.”
While Mixer’s struggle to keep up with the likes of Twitch and YouTube Gaming in the streaming space were clear, the industry was still shocked when it surprised even its own streamers and staff by announcing it would be shutting down and relocating streamers to Facebook Gaming if they were willing.
While Mixer was unable to attract viewership and engagement from other platforms throughout its lifespan, its strategy of signing streamers to exclusivity deals changed the way the industry operated massively, seeing Twitch, Facebook Gaming, and YouTube Gaming starting to offer contracts to new or existing popular streamers.
Despite Mixer being billed as a core element of Microsoft’s future gaming strategy, Spencer tells GamesIndustry he is still “feeling really good” about its ‘Content, Community and Cloud’ vision, even if Microsoft is now without its own streaming platform.