While many people associate livestreaming games with Twitch and YouTube, Microsoft also offers a platform for budding livestreamers dubbed Mixer. It boasts unique features, and even offers built-in support for Xbox One and Windows 10, meaning gamers don’t need to download any additional software to broadcast their gameplay to the platform.
Here, we explain what Mixer is, why it’s different to the competition and how to broadcast to Mixer from PC, Xbox One and even iOS & Android.
Finally, if you want to stream gameplay without denting your performance, you'll probably want a dedicated capture card. Take a look at our round-up of the best capture cards on the market to find out which is right for you.
What is Microsoft Mixer?
Like Twitch, Mixer is Microsoft’s own live broadcasting platform, allowing you to stream yourself doing almost anything (although most people concentrate on gaming!).
And while you might wonder why Microsoft has gone down the route when platforms like Twitch already dominate the game livestreaming market, Mixer offers features and improvements not matched by other services.
The main feature of Mixer is its incredibly low latency, which Microsoft has dubbed FTL (or Faster Than Light) technology. When it comes to watching game livestreams, and especially with regards to audience and streamer interaction, low latency is key.
The last thing you, as a streamer, would want is for your stream to be 30 seconds behind; replies to comments in-stream would be late, and it may not sync up for all those watching. It’s especially important when hosting a co-stream with multiple livestreams from a single game – you want to see each stream in-sync, not with delays between them.
Mixer has the lowest latency of any livestreaming service we’ve seen so far, but that’s not the only feature that makes the service unique.
Along with the FTL technology Mixer employs, the service also offers interactive elements within livestreams. Instead of simply watching a livestream, viewers can interact with the stream itself via a range of buttons.
These can be anything, from sound effects to on-screen graphics, and in Mixer-supported games, it can even be used to toggle in-game events. Take a game like Killing Floor 2 – imagine viewers had the ability to help- or hinder the streamer by providing him with either guns and health, or more hordes of zombies.
Of course, there will be trolls, but Microsoft has also thought of that. All users earn XP and Sparks by watching Mixer livestreams and interacting with the community, and it’s these that are used as currency to activate the interactive elements.
It’s a great Mixer-specific feature that doesn’t get enough attention, as it helps bridge the gap between streamer and consumer.
How to broadcast to Microsoft Mixer on Windows 10
Now you know a little more about what Mixer offers, let us explain how to livestream games to Mixer on Windows 10. While some people may suggest downloading third-party software like OBS or XSplit, you don’t need to.
Why? Microsoft’s Mixer broadcasting technology is already built into the Windows 10 Game Bar, accessible in a range of games on PC. It’s incredibly easy to get started too – but before we go any further, make sure you’ve signed up for an account on the Mixer website and linked it to the Microsoft Account used in the Xbox app (sign in to the Mixer site, then click your Avatar > Account > Link your Microsoft Account).
Oh, and make sure you’re running the Windows 10 Spring Creators Update (version 1703) or later.
Once you’re ready to share your PC gameplay, follow these instructions:
- Start the game you’d like to broadcast on Mixer.
- Launch the Windows Game Bar. This can be done by pressing the Xbox button on an Xbox controller, or by pressing the Windows key + G on your keyboard.
- Select the Broadcast button (shaped like a satellite dish).
- Select the optional features (mic input, video input, etc).
- Press Start Broadcasting to broadcast your game.
If you’d like to edit your broadcasting settings (audio bitrate, camera setup, etc) you can head to the new Gaming section of the Settings app. Head to Gaming > Broadcasting and tweak the settings to get the optimal broadcasting experience for your setup.
How to broadcast to Microsoft Mixer on Xbox One
As with the Windows 10 how-to above, make sure that you’ve got a Mixer account and that it’s linked to your Microsoft Account.
If you’ve signed up to the service recently, it would’ve asked you to link the account while creating a Mixer account. If it didn’t, don’t worry; sign in to the Mixer site, then click your Avatar > Account > Link your Microsoft Account and follow the on-screen instructions.
It’s important that these steps are followed before broadcasting from an Xbox One, as you aren’t prompted to log in on the console – it just uses the Microsoft account linked to your Xbox account.
Once you’re ready to broadcast, simply follow these instructions:
- Turn on your Xbox One and start the game you’d like to broadcast from.
- Press the Xbox button on your controller to bring up the guide.
- Select the broadcast icon (shaped like a satellite dish) on the left-hand side and select ‘broadcast your game’.
- While the game should be automatically identified, you’ll still need to enter a stream title. Input your title and press enter.
- Toggle the options for microphone, camera and chat to be displayed in the stream. If you’ve got a Kinect camera connected, it’ll be the default for both camera and microphone input.
- Finally, select Start Broadcast to begin your livestream.
How to broadcast to Mixer on iOS and Android
The most recent addition to the Mixer family is Mixer Create, an app available for iOS and Android. Along with being a great mixer companion app, providing you easy access to your channel’s chat functionality while broadcasting, it allows you to livestream gameplay from your mobile.
On Android, you’re able to broadcast just about anything on the smartphone – it doesn’t have to be a game. It’s a little more restricted on iOS (no surprises there!) and, from what we’ve seen so far, can only broadcast from the camera. A Microsoft Mixer rep has told Tech Advisor that it will only compatible with apps built to support Apple’s ReplayKit, but we’ve yet to see it in action.
Regardless of platform, it means that creators can continue to engage with their communities, even when away from their PC or console.
But as with the rest of the Mixer platform, while it has a focus on gameplay, you can livestream almost anything via the Mixer Create app for Android. Headed to Gamescom or PAX? Share it with your fans.
To broadcast gameplay via Mixer Create on Android, follow these instructions:
- Download the Mixer Create app from Google Play.
- Open the app, and sign in with your Microsoft account.
- Tap the pink broadcast button to begin your broadcast.
- Tap the controller icon to broadcast your mobile gameplay.
- Open the app you’d like to play, and tap the broadcast button to begin the broadcast.
It’s as simple as that, although we must admit we had some issues when trying to stream via an Android. Hopefully these are teething issues as the app was only made available at the beginning of September 2017, as it’s something not offered by the likes of Twitch, YouTube or Facebook.