Despite enlisting stars such as Ninja, Shroud and KingGothalion over the past year, Microsoft’s Mixer video-game streaming service is having trouble increasing its audience.
The number of hours watched — a key benchmark for streaming platforms — was up less than 2% in January from a year earlier, according to a report Wednesday from StreamElements and Arsenal.gg. That compares with substantial gains on competing services.
The hours-watched figure more than quadrupled for Facebook Gaming, and the livestreaming industry as a whole saw an increase of almost 46%. The platforms are attracting millions of viewers, who use them to watch gamers duke it out in live matches.
The industry is still dominated by Amazon.com’s Twitch, but Mixer and other platforms have been looking to get a bigger foothold. When Mixer lured Ninja and other top gamers away from Twitch, it was a bet that the stars could help bring their fans with them.
But the big names aren’t necessarily translating into growth — at least, not yet.
New videogame consoles are expected this year from Microsoft and Sony, and that could shake things up. Hardware upgrades have typically fueled sales of video games and increased interest in related streaming matches. Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox will be more powerful, allowing for better graphics and less latency when playing games.
Microsoft also has a potential edge over rivals because it owns a console, a streaming platform and popular games such as Halo. The latest installment in that series, Halo Infinite, is due this year.
“Mixer has made some strong moves and we see them gaining traction as a destination for indie-game streamers, but to gauge the true value we will have to see what happens with the next Xbox launch,” StreamElements Chief Executive Officer Doron Nir said in an email. “Mixer has set the stage for what could be a major game changer in the space.”
Right now, the most popular streams involve watching League of Legends, the report found. Hours watched for Fortnite, meanwhile, have continued to fall, slipping 19% in January.