Platforms like Mixer, Twitch, and YouTube don’t care about you

Microsoft shuttered their streaming service Mixer without warning. That extends to people streaming on the platform – most of them found out at the same time we did. Here’s Alex Walker, reporting for Kotaku:

Some Mixer streamers discovered the news during the middle of their stream, while they were processing the shock of racial allegations the company. “Mixer just tweeted, let’s go Mixer,” streamer PrincessCourt told her chat, resulting in a long, quiet stare at the screen while she processed the news.

This must be devastating for people who have built an audience on Mixer. Especially since Mixer presented the shutdown and the shift to Facebook Gaming as a good thing.

That’s, ah, a failure of communications right there.

The headline on Walker’s article, itself a quote from PrincessCourt, is right: “They clearly don’t give a shit.” And, really, services like Mixer (and Twitch, and YouTube) don’t care about most of the people streaming on their platform.

A lot of people within those companies care about streamers, of course. But, organisationally, most creators don’t matter. The big ones – the people who pull in massive numbers – matter because they’re the people who provide scale. And scale is how outfits like Mixer make money and gain any semblance of cultural cache.

YouTube celebrated small, indie creators for a time because that’s how they built scale. Once the company was big enough and, for all intents and purposes, a monopoly, those smaller creators were less important. A whole lot of other things – like massively popular creators and music labels and movie studios – were driving millions of views and, thus, millions of dollars in revenue.

That matters more, to YouTube and to Mixer and to Twitch, than fostering a familial relationship with small-fry makers.

And that’s the tragedy, really. Services like Mixer and all the rest push this cultural line of “You matter, we’re a community, we’re a family” to hide the fact that, when you publish videos on these services, you’re working for them. You’re finding views and giving them something to run ads against.

You’re an employee, but you’re not. So you don’t deserve the same treatment or protections.

And, unless you’re someone they need to make a whole lot of money, you don’t matter. They don’t give a shit.