Microsoft recently announced its acquisition of Beam, an interactive videogame livestreaming company that allows gamers to not only watch livestreams, but get involved as it’s happening.
So how exactly does it work? One example provided by Microsoft is that a user could be watching a Minecraft stream (of course), and could issue challenges and objectives to the streamer via ‘simple video controls’.
In another example, players could watch Rare’s upcoming Sea of Thieves from multiple team’s perspectives, and have an eye on all of the action.
Microsoft said in its statement:
One of the best parts about Beam is that interactivity is easy for streamers to enable and customize, and is designed to work with any game. We at Xbox are excited about this convergence between playing and watching, and want to provide gamers with the freedom and choice to have great multiplayer experiences across all of Beam’s platforms. This acquisition will help gamers enjoy the games they want, with the people they want, and on the devices they want.
The Beam service launched on January 5 2016, following a beta period that consisted of ‘millions of hours’ of streams, according to Beam co-founder and CEO Matt Salsamendi, Beam has over 100,000 users.
Salsamendi said in his own statement:
We’re expanding the team, bolstering our infrastructure, and most importantly, continuing to grow and support the amazing community at Beam.
He added that nothing will change for existing Beam users (right now), but that they can expect ‘awesome new features’ and ‘epic new interactive game integrations’.
Salsamendi will continue to be heavily involved with Beam as he leads the team, which is being folded into the Xbox Engineering unit.
Microsoft will share more details regarding its plans for beam ‘in the future’.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.