Morale at Mixer is low, and new management is making it worse, employee says

Kareem Anderson

Microsoft's Mixer website

With Microsoft is set to release its Xbox Series X console and take the wraps off its xCloud streaming game service later this year, it would seem imperative that the company’s in-house game streaming platform is up to snuff to host the wave of impassioned gamers that would ideally flood to the service to showcase its latest offerings.

As has been reported, Mixer has had a rough few months that involved the original founders leaving the business alongside a general manager and corporate vice president. However, what hasn’t been reported is that over the last six months, there have been sixteen layoffs due to budget cuts which have shed roughly 25% of an already skeletal team and are causing feature releases to slip schedules. That’s according to a Mixer employee who reached out to us, concerned about the direction and fate of Mixer, in an email sent to us via ProtonMail entitled “Why Microsoft Mixer Will Fail.”

During an internal Mixer town hall last week, executives spoke to its skeleton crew of employees to address the growing sense of frustration and low morale within the business, unfortunately, their words left a lot to be desired. The employee included a video of part of the meeting. Leading up to her town hall appearance last week, newly appointed general manager Shilpa Yadla had been meeting with employees one on one, presumably to assuage fears and concerns, but on stage, her words may have had the adverse effect.

While tackling the concerns of the Mixer employee pool, Yadla referred to their feedback as “blah, blah, blah” and surmises legitimate issues as “negative feedback.” Yadla also mentions in the town hall that while she has empathy for the group she has no tolerance for “negativity” or “negative feedback” and that she is not there to “sympathize with anybody.”

The employee includes this in the email to us:

Post townhall, many of the team are angry and in shock and the hallway conversations are: “wow, now I really want to work for her, thanks for listening”. Yadla ends her inspirational speech with the quote that Satya frequently uses: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Not sure this is what Satya meant by culture.

While we can’t be 100% sure that this email to us is legitimate, we reached out to the sender to confirm that they were indeed working at Microsoft on Mixer, at least according to them.

Mixer’s lack of communication with its broader streaming community is forcing evangelists to reconsider where they spend their time and where they put valuable content.

Despite the lip service Mixer executives may have paid to fans at recent conventions, it seems that internally, the platform isn’t set up to capitalize in 2020 and that its problems may even extend further into the future.