Mixer, Microsoft's streaming game service, has always played a minor role for Twitch . But a new payment paradigm on Mixer could change that, because the Microsoft platform has developed something that its rival does not have: it allows to pay the streamers without the viewers have to lay the dough.
Mixer recently introduced " Season 2 ", a massive update of the platform that introduces several new features. Among these are the skills, which allow users to put special emoji or moving characters in a cat's streamer, or trigger effects such as confetti or fireworks. From what I've seen, it allows viewers to get more involved in what the streamer is doing. And this is fueled by the other major feature of season 2: spark favoritism.
That's how it works: viewers passively accumulate a currency called Sparks. Sparks can then be spent on the skills mentioned above. These sparks return to the streamer, and when it reaches certain Spark milestones, it is guaranteed a pre-set amount of money this week. The streamer is paid and the viewers have only to give their time.
It's really positive. I think the community has adopted many of these additions. It's really fun, every week, to see each community rally behind the Sparks milestones of a streamer, and try to get them to certain levels. It becomes, in a way, his own little game.
Mixer is also launching a new paid currency called Embers, which offers the streamer more direct financial compensation. It's a bit like Twitch's Bits, in that viewers have to pay for it, but the payoffs seem to be bigger than those offered only to Sparks. Jenn McCoy, Marketing Director at Mixer, told us:
We intend to launch Embers in order to give users the opportunity to support the streamers associated with their dollars, whether they wish to buy Embers or with their time spent by Sparks. Our hope is that it is truly inclusive and flexible, so that all our viewers can participate and support the streamers that they wish.
It should be noted that for the moment viewers can only spend Sparks on Mixer's partner streamers. The impact is only significant if the stream receives a significant amount of sparks: we speak in millions, while Sparks' pay rate is about 50 per minute.
Mixer representatives refused to share the source of the money, and some of that money could come from Microsoft itself. But it should also be noted that Mixer has a Pro option . A subscription to Mixer Pro costs $ 7.99 and Pro users earn double Sparks per minute. At least some of the streamers' revenue is probably from people who are going into the industry in order to earn more Sparks to spend.
Making money streaming is a major concern of the streamers and gave birth to a whole market of tools allowing viewers to give money to the streamer – Ali Moiz, CEO of the software company Streamlabs, told TNW last month its platform had handled more than $ 257 million in tips for the streamers. But the problem, in this case, is that the money always comes from the pockets of the viewers. And, as Favreau points out, "many people want to support creators, but not everyone who wants it can."
In addition to favoritism, Mixer is looking for ways to get viewers more involved by rewarding them for participating in the channel's activities via an item called Progression. Mixer Embers and the rest of season 2 will make their appearance next year.
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