SPARKS should be used for loyalty rather than supporting Partners
I think it is VERY dissapointing for the new "Season 2" sparks to be used to add yet ANOTHER advantage to the partners. I LOVE my partnered streamers, and the ones that I sub too. However, all of these "improvements" seem to be geared toward them, and not the community. Game Purchases, Subscriptions, etc.. Mixer seems to be focusing on "sponsored" and "partnered" content, as opposed to the community as a whole (viewers, streamers, partners). I wish the sparks would have been used to benefit the loyal fans\viewers, and "small streamers" where we could use them in a "Sparks Store" to purchase xbox live, gamepass, credit toward games, t shirts, hats, sub codes, mixer pro codes, streamer gear (webcams, green screens) etc...Perhaps in addition to the "bits"
like, monetary function. I feel this would have been a WAYY better use of sparks to captivate the current users, and tempt new users to join the platform. I also agree that ALL streamers should benefit from the sparks for money integration.
I also love my streamers and donate real money regularly, but I feel like Mixer is going in the wrong direction with Sparks and Embers too. BEAM was all about "community" and "family", making the viewers feel like they were part of something different than Twitch. But now MIXER (Microsoft) just feels like they're doing everything they can to milk more money out of us. My guess is that Microsoft's strategy is for everyone to get rid of Sparks, then they'll remove them all together and Embers will be the only "currency" you'll have, which will cost real money to get, just like Twitch Bits. Maybe that's great for the bottom line of the business, but philosophically, it kind of sucks.
I've spent thousands of hours (and dollars) on Beam/Mixer over the past 2+ years and have a few million sparks, that have been useless until now. But instead of Microsoft rewarding our loyalty and allowing us to buy merch or other perks (a "Sparks Store", for example), they've decided to almost "trick" people into dumping all of those sparks back into the system so they can release "pay-for-play" Embers and make more money off of us. That's not giving back to the community, that's just greed. I can get that at Twitch, but Mixer is supposed to be different. Why are we (the Viewers) not being rewarded in any way for all of the time we spend on the site? Averaging a couple hundred sparks an hour (because the earning rates are so pitifully low), if there was a "Sparks Store" where a t-shirt or a hat cost 200,000 sparks, I'd still have to spend a THOUSAND HOURS on the site to get it for "free". Maybe if I even decide to get Pro to earn Sparks faster, in 3 months, you've already made up the cost of that "free" merch. We know Microsoft doesn't like "free", so then go ahead and charge $5.99 for S&H to help offset the cost. At the end of the day though, I spent a THOUSAND HOURS on Mixer and by wearing your "free" merch, I'm giving you "free" PR. Even I can see that's a benefit to Microsoft - I'm sure the Marketing department can do even better...
Also, why does Pro cost $2 more than a sub? There are no ads (yet), so why is that a perk of Pro? The Sparks/XP earning rate is horribly low anyway and "faster support"? C'mon...
The bottom line is that it feels more and more like Microsoft is turning Mixer into everything most of us hate about Twitch. I'm happy that [some] streamers are benefitting a bit more than they have been, but Mixer won't be what Beam was originally intended to be, if Microsoft starts caring more about money than they do about the viewers who make them that money.
We don't feel like we're part of something anymore. We don't feel like a family anymore.
As a small streamer myself, I completely agree with this. It would make streaming here on Mixer both as a new streamer and partner MUCH more rewarding.