Reports say Microsoft's video streaming platform Mixer is having some issues internally, namely with keeping employee morale high.
Mixer is now under new leadership and employees may not be too happy with their bosses' new ethos, sources tell OnMSFT. Shilpa Yadla, who now heads the Mixer platform, has one rule: don't give up and stay positive through struggle. It sounds like good advice. But the way Yadla frames her speech in a recent clipped closed-door presentation makes it sound less like a guideline and more like a harsh decree.
In the video, Yadla repeatedly mentions how employees have a choice to either think positively, or to just "doom" everything. It's a strange thing to say to a group of people you're now leading...unless maybe there was a morale problem and you're trying to solve it by brute-forcing positive thinking and intent.
"My message to all of you is choices. There's two segments of people in the world. One of them has 1,000 reasons why they could succeed and one reason why they think they could not succeed, so they nag and nag. Then there's the other people who have 1,000 reasons why they could not succeed, but one reason why they could--that's the focus and tenacity. He chose that. I'll ask all of you to decide where you want to be," she said.
She finishes off with: "I'm empathetic, but I'm not here to sympathize with anyone."
Yadla's message apparently wasn't taken very well. And rightly so, because it's not inspirational. It comes off as brash and uncaring for the human plight of the Mixer team.
At least one employee told OnMSFT that the overall consensus among workers is one of confusion, worry, and low morale.
There's a few other reasons employees may be unhappy with the platform. Mixer is way far behind when it comes to streaming viewership. The service only made up 3% of total hours watched in 2019 with roughly 353 million hours. Conversely, Twitch had 9.3 billion hours and YouTube had 2.68 billion hours watched.
Despite being conquered by titans like YouTube Gaming and Twitch, Mixer did see a healthy 149% uptick in total hours watched, likely sparked by Ninja's exclusivity contract with the service.
Mixer really only exists as a supplement to Microsoft's gaming ambitions. It's not tremendously important insofar as overall business focus, but acts as an extension of gaming that's monetized with ads and tip purchases. It's kind of like a giant advertising billboard for Xbox games and hardware, while also serving the basic function as a streaming platform for other games.
Then again, Microsoft is spending big on pulling audiences over. The service spent $30 million attracting Ninja to Mixer and will continue buying up influencers with contracts throughout the years.