A slew of updates for Microsoft’s Mixer video streaming service starts to go live today for what the company is calling Season 2 of the service. Those updates include new ways for streamers to make money and build community and new ways for viewers to participate in streams.
Skills, which is available now, adds the ability to send animated stickers, gifs, and celebratory effects on the service. Every time a view uses a skill on a partner’s channel there is a small “financial benefit” to the streamer, Microsoft said.
Sparks, also now live, is a way to financial support a partner streamer without having to subscribe. Viewers earn sparks by watching streams and then can spend them on skills and help partnered streamers reach milestones that give them cash payouts.
Another form of monetization, called Mixer embers, isn’t quite live yet. Mixer Embers are a new virtual currency that you can buy and use on high-value skills. Embers will be a paid currency that goes a step further than Sparks and provides a streamer with direct financial rewards and bigger celebrations.
Finally, progression is coming to Mixer next year. This is a system meant to show a viewer’s status in a community that doesn’t just reflect their financial contribution. The Mixer progression system will reward a viewer’s entire engagement with a streamer’s community and on Mixer as a whole. Viewers can level up by using skills, just participating in chats, earning applause from other users, or just coming back to a stream every day. When a viewer levels up they unlock new skills.
All of those updates are on the frontend of Mixer. But Microsoft said it is also investing in some backend changes as well.
That includes turning on automatic bitrate switching, which will smooth out viewing experiences when download speeds fluctuate. On the streaming side, Microsoft is adding support for ingesting streams via the RTMP standard. Mixer is also getting a new feature that will allow viewers to easily report any video-specific issues they see.