Microsoft has announced that they have acquired Beam, an interactive live-streaming service that allows gamers to watch and play alongside streamers in real-time. The team will be joining the Xbox business organization but terms of the agreement were not announced.
Game streaming has become big business with Amazon recently acquiring Twitch but Beam was able to separate itself from the other platforms by taking a passive experience and turning it into an interactive process. With the acquisition today, Microsoft is enhancing its streaming capabilities for the Xbox platform and also reducing its dependency on Twitch for streaming.
Watching professional gamers play their trade is fast growing segment among younger generations. Twitch, which is the largest platform for watching game streaming, has become a huge hit among gamers and with Microsoft buying Beam, the company is making sure they don’t miss out on this growing demographic.
By owning Beam, it makes sense that the company will be able to deeply integrate the platform into Xbox Live to make it a first class citizen in the world of professional game streaming. What’s unique about the service is that the viewers can interact with the player as well; Microsoft notes that in Minecraft “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”.
For Xbox gamers, this should be considered good news as it will give the Xbox team more tools to play with and expand the portfolio of services offered by Microsoft.