Microsoft Acquires Beam, An Interactive Livestreaming Service for Games With Sub-Second Delay Tech

Alessio Palumbo

Yesterday, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Beam, an interactive livestreaming service.

In case you haven't heard of it before, Beam allows streamers to involve viewers in their gameplay regardless of the specific title they're currently playing. Chad Gibson (Partner Group Program Manager, Xbox Live) said:

Bringing Beam, their award-winning team and their inventive technology into the Xbox family supports our ongoing commitment to make Xbox Live more social and fun. Using “Minecraft” as one example, with Beam you don’t just watch your favorite streamer play, you play along with them. You can give them new challenges and make real-time choices that affect their gameplay, from tool selection to quests to movement; all through simple visual controls. In the highly anticipated “Sea of Thieves,” which is all about emergent adventures in a shared world, you can watch the drama play out between different crews from multiple player perspectives.

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.

According to Beam CEO Matt Salsamendi, the acquisition won't change much for the end users and there won't be any change in the platforms supported.

So what changes for you? Nothing right now; we’re continuing our focus on providing streamers with the tools they need to create the most interactive broadcasts around. Beam is designed to work with any game, and we’ll continue to offer broadcasts across all gaming platforms, just as we do today. As Beam becomes part of Team Xbox, you’ll see awesome new features, epic new interactive game integrations, and a huge influx of new community members!

Features include an SDK that developers can use to creative interactive Beam experiences with existing games, sub-second stream delay thanks to an HTML5 powered streaming protocol dubbed "FTL", SSL security protocol applied everywhere, a gamified streaming experience and support for iOS, Android, Kindle, AppleTV, as well as Google Chromecast from both the iOS and Android apps.

Microsoft, just like Google, had approached Twitch prior to Amazon's acquisition. Clearly they didn't want to be left out of the growing livestreaming market, and we'll keep an eye on how they plan to integrate Beam into their first party games.

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