Microsoft has acquired Beam, a Seattle-based innovative and interactive live streaming service that gives viewers the ability to watch and play along with their favorite game streamers in real-time. And that there pretty much states the reason behind this acquisition — take on the likes of Twitch and Youtube Gaming.
Live game streaming — the domain where users somehow find it amusing to endlessly watch other expert gaming players play their favourite titles — is a domain Microsoft’s Xbox is yet to completely take on. Microsoft hasn’t had a dedicated service like a Twitch or a Youtube Gaming, despite having established itself as a decenet gaming market player with Xbox.
With this acquisition, this could well change. In fact, the very first line of Microsoft’s official announcement, makes its clear that Bean will be going straight under Xbox. Here’s the line [emphasis my own] :
Today, Team Xbox is proud to announce that Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire Beam, an innovative and interactive livestreaming service that gives viewers the ability to watch and play along with their favorite game streamers in real-time.
Based in Seattle, Beam has evolved game streaming from a passive, watch-and-chat experience into one with real-time participation by the viewer; directly into a streamer’s game play and live broadcast.
With Beam’s acquisition, Microsoft wants to march even faster towards making Xbox Live, a more social experience. Using “Minecraft” as one example, the Redmond giant explains, that 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.
Microsoft further adds,
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.
Post acquisition though, nothing is changing, at least for now. Beam CEO Matt Salsamendi says in his own blog post, that his company will remain focused on providing streamers with the tools they need to create the most interactive broadcasts around. Beam is designed to work with any game, and the company will continue to offer broadcasts across all gaming platforms. So yes, thankfully, Beam isn’t going Xbox-exclusive for now.
Salsamendi will continue to lead the Beam team in Redmond, now as part of Team Xbox within the Engineering group. He further adds that we will be seeing lots of new faces in the community as he bring on new team members to help grow the platform and I can’t wait for you to meet them.