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Microsoft’s sudden decision to wind down Mixer has left its streaming community in an unexpected position. The platform’s biggest stars, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek, both left Twitch and signed exclusivity deals the previous year. Mixer’s audience is dramatically smaller than Twitch, however the money offered — which has never been confirmed, though some believe Ninja’s contract was worth $50 million — was hard to refuse. Streamers and industry observers expected them to see out their contracts and then, once it was time to renew, consider their options and potentially move back to a larger platform like Twitch or YouTube. That choice has now been moved forward. Mixer will shut down on July 22nd, which doesn’t give the stars much time to figure out a solution. Ninja and Shroud don’t have to worry about their finances, at least. The pair reportedly received “full payments” from Mixer, meaning they made the same amount of money then if they had completed their contracts. They may have lost a chunk of viewership on Mixer -- Ninja’s average viewer count reportedly dropped by a third last year -- but if anything the switch made them even more cash than they had originally anticipated, because they're now able to supplement their Mixer paychecks with revenue from another platform. So where will they go next? For now, Ninja and Shroud are staying tight-lipped. “I love my community and what we built together on Mixer,” Ninja tweeted yesterday. “I have some decisions to make and will be thinking about you all as I make them.” Shroud, meanwhile, said: “I appreciate the Mixer community and everything I’ve been able to do on the platform. I love you guys and am figuring out my next steps.” Mixer would like its streamers to move to Facebook Gaming. In a blog post, the Microsoft-owned division said it was teaming up with Facebook “to better serve our community’s needs.”

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