Microsoft has acquired Beam, a provider of a livestreaming service that provides viewers more options for interactivity. Beam allows users to watch their favorite streamers and participate in chat at the same time but also allows for viewers to participate in real time. For example, viewers could give a Minecraft player quests and set up conditions such as what kind of equipment is allowed or check out a multiplayer encounter in Sea of Thieves and switch among the viewpoints of either crew. In Forza Horizon 3 viewers could set up a challenge such as beating an event with a specific car, achieving a specific hang time or earning a certain number of points in a skill chain. All of these possibilities are managed by an easy to use visual interface and Beam is designed to work with virtually any game on any system. Streamers will of course be able to customize allowable options so there will be no worries about streams being ruined with impossible or absurd challenges.
Chad Gibson, Partner Group Manager for Xbox Live, wrote on Xbox Wire, “This acquisition will help gamers enjoy the games they want, with the people they want, and on the devices they want.”
Microsoft has not announced what they intend to do with Beam. It is reasonable to assume that Beam’s features will be incorporated into Xbox Live and could be accessed via the Xbox One interface, the Xbox website or an app for mobile devices. Considering other Microsoft acquisitions such as the Havok engine it is safe to assume that Beam’s services will remain available on other platforms such as PlayStation 4.
We can also expect Beam to expand its services. Matt Salsamendi, CEO of Beam wrote, ““We’re expanding the team, bolstering our infrastructure, and, most importantly, continuing to grow the amazing community we’ve been lucky enough to build at Beam.”