Microsoft Renames Beam to Mixer, Adds New Features

Posted on May 25, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Games, Xbox One with 17 Comments

In a surprise move, Microsoft revealed today that it has renamed its Beam game streaming service to Mixer. And it’s adding new features, including co-streaming, mobile device support, and more.

“Today marks a big evolution of our interactive live-streaming platform and a new name for the service: Mixer,” Beam co-founder and Mixer engineering lead Matt Salsamendi reveals. “But, more than just the name, we’re launching several of the features that you all have been asking for. Features that will unlock a whole new world of possibilities for social streaming, and help viewers find the content they’re looking for across the service.”

According to Salsamendi, Microsoft has rebranded Beam as Mixer because of international issues with the original name. Presumably, this name didn’t translate well into certain languages.

As for the new naming choice, Salsamendi says it represents what fans love most about the service: How it brings people together.

“It brings people together through the core experience and ‘special sauce’ that our fans already know and love: the ability to not just watch streams, but to also interact with streamers and play together in near real-time,” he explains. “In other words, Mixer is live streaming that’s actually live, compared to the 10- to 20-second latency you typically get on other platforms.”

Salsamendi also hints at some future possibilities for the service, including “official game integration” with Minecraft. But other game makers are already integrating Mixer into their titles in interesting ways. For example, TellTale Games has created a Crowd Play feature for games like Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier, Batman: The Telltale Series that lets audiences make decisions that impact the gameplay during a live broadcast.

Additionally, Microsoft has announced the following new Beam, er, Mixer features:

Co-streaming. Now, up to four gamers can combine their streams into a single experience which is displayed on a single Mixer page using a split-screen view. “Viewers don’t need to flip back and forth across different streams to view the same group of streamers,” Salsamendi writes. They can watch all the action in one place, while enjoying all the innovative interactivity that Mixer offers.”

Mixer Create Beta for Android and iOS. A beta version of the Mixer Create mobile app is now available on Android and iOS, enabling self-broadcasting. In the future, this app will be updated to support live gameplay streaming from your mobile device as well. And you will be able to join a co-stream with friends who are broadcasting on PC, console or other mobile devices, Microsoft says.

Channel One. This moderated channel of content lets you see the high-quality streams that are available across Mixer from one place. This will include “big title releases, livestream events, tips and tricks, esports updates, and more,” according to Salsamendi.

Mixer on the Xbox One Dashboard. Available today to Xbox Insiders, a new Mixer tab in the Xbox One Dashboard will provide a curated front-end to Mixer broadcasts.

But wait, there’s more: Microsoft will also be live broadcasting its E3 presentation next month via Mixer in 4K UHD.

 

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Comments (20)

20 responses to “Microsoft Renames Beam to Mixer, Adds New Features”

  1. Avatar

    madthinus

    What a terrible name

  2. Avatar

    Martin Pelletier

    Cool, but like many other Microsoft Tech, it's a work in progress. We will be their beta testers again.

  3. Avatar

    Waethorn

    With a name like that, it's doomed to failure. What is it with Microsoft using mid-last-century social networking terms anyway?

  4. Avatar

    Ser Barristan

    I would have preferred they kept the Beam name. I rarely used the service as it is but it has potential.

  5. Avatar

    Chris_Kez

    The name is probably the least important thing; seriously, if you like the service does it really matter if it is called "Beam" or "Mixer" or "Gamestream" or anything else? Is Google a great name? Is Apple a great name? Nothing to see here.

  6. Avatar

    PeteB

    Microsoft seems to have an uncanny inability to recognize lost causes. The benefactors of the Beam buyout must be laughing themselves stupid since they cashed out at the perfect time, knowing full well Twitch was too big and entrenched to ever hope to compete with.

    Twitch is to game streaming what Youtube is to videos what Google is to search. Beam was already going nowhere; this rename just moves up the date of the inevitable "Microsoft shuts down Mixer" headlines by 3-4 months.

  7. Avatar

    PeteB

    “In other words, Mixer is live streaming that’s actually live, compared to the 10- to 20-second latency you typically get on other platforms.”

    Silly, disingenuous marketingbabble. Twitch's delay function is a security feature to mitigate trolling and stream sniping, not a technical or infrastructure shortcoming.

    • Avatar

      SWChris

      In reply to PeteB:

      Twitch uses HLS. Mixer FTL uses WebRTC. HLS has a built-in delay because it uses buffering to cache data to ensure smooth playback (no buffering screens) before displaying it on your screen. If packets get lost in transit, they are retransmitted. The delay was not originally intended to be a security feature. It's simply a consequence of the technology being developed during a time when real-time high quality video playback was still a bit of a stretch for most end user connections. So yes, it actually can be considered a legitimate technical limitation because it is not technically possible to do sub-second delay with HLS.

      WebRTC gets around the issue of packet loss by using forward error correction or by concealing the packet loss, and adjusting the quality of the stream as the bandwidth available to it fluctuates. It's an entirely different way of transmitting video and audio data and yes, it actually does produce sub-second video delay. It's also quite tricky to do at scale. There is nothing disingenuous about it.

      Whether or not viewers care enough is a separate issue of course.

  8. Avatar

    pwrof3

    Hey, we could have gotten "Microsoft Game Streaming Service Series"

    They are getting better at naming things.

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