Today, Microsoft began offering a preview version of its Beam game streaming service to select members of the Xbox Insider program.
“Today, the Beam app on Xbox One will start rolling out to select Xbox Insider members, giving gamers more choice over their gaming experience and where they to watch their favorite streams – whether that’s on Xbox One, Windows 10 PC, iOS or Android,” a Microsoft representative told me. “The Beam app on Xbox One enables viewers to watch their favorite streamers – both interactive or non-interactive – with virtually no delay, so streamers and viewers are always on the same page and can engage with each other in near real-time.”
It’s unclear who exactly gets this functionality, but as you may recall, Microsoft offers four Xbox Insider rings, and you are not allowed to just join the one you want. Instead, Microsoft is maintaining a secret naughty/nice list, and only those with close ties to the company—or the truly lucky—can get into the two higher rings. Everyone else is forced to suck it back in coach class.
So my assumption is that the select Xbox Insiders who will get early access to Beam are in fact the same select Insiders who already have truly excellent access.
Here’s what they are getting in the Beam Preview app.
Watch and chat during game stream. The app lets those select Xbox Insider members watch and chat with their favorite game streamers in near real-time. They will also be able to browse, search and follow favorite game streams, as well as earn Sparks and Experience Points (XP) while viewing.
Game stream interaction. Beam also lets viewers interact with game streamers in unique ways. “You can participate in the stream too,” Microsoft says. “That’s one of the features that makes Beam unique. Any stream can incorporate simple interactive features such as sound boards. We’ve already seen a ton of interaction between streamers and viewers with games like Minecraft, Forza Horizon 3 and Halo 5: Guardians. There are a lot of neat possibilities, and we’re eager to see how gamers continue to use Beam’s interactive capabilities.”
Start your own game streams. Gamers can of course use the Beam app to create their own game streams too. To start streaming, just select the Beam button in the Guide.
Beam for Xbox One will be generally available in the Spring, Microsoft says. As a “have not”, will have to take their word for that.