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Microsoft purchases its own Twitch competitor

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Acquires Beam Interactive for an undisclosed amount

Microsoft announced yesterday that its Xbox division has purchased Beam Interactive, a livestreaming service that "gives viewers the ability to watch and play along with their favorite game streamers in real-time." Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it appears as though the company will be absorbed into the Xbox division's engineering group. No time frame was given for the acquisition.

"We at Xbox are excited about this convergence between playing and watching, and look forward to sharing more about Beam and our vision for interactive game streaming in the future," wrote Chad Gibson, the Xbox Live Partner Group Program Manager. "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."

Beam launched on January 5 this year, and differs from Twitch.tv in several ways. The main difference is that Beam streams are more or less real time, removing the 10-20 second delay Twitch users experience. Beam also offers streamers tools to allow viewers to influence their stream. For example, a streamer might allow viewers to select the weapon they have to use in an first-person shooter, or the viewers could challenge the player to complete an entire lap of a race in reverse, all in real time. It also offers some additional security features compared to Twitch.

It doesn't appear that Beam will become a Microsoft-exclusive streaming service. In a blog post, Beam CEO Matt Salsamendi wrote, "Beam is designed to work with any game, and we'll continue to offer broadcasts across all gaming platforms, just as we do today."

It's a safe bet that Minecraft was one of the contributing factors that led to this deal, since it's a favorite game of streamers and Microsoft bought the rights in 2014. Additionally, Beam's webpage takes care to mention how well it works with eSports due to the lessened delay. 

I'll admit I don't stream or watch others stream very often, but I can see how the reduced delay would be handy for games like the Jackbox Party Pack, or any of the Telltale games. I've played a few games of Quiplash via Twitch and have missed answering questions because I hadn't taken the stream delay into consideration. I can also see how this could be used to enhance streams of games like The Walking Dead or The Wolf Among Us. Most of Telltale's recent games have had a strict timer used to make decisions, and the delay on Twitch means that the audience can't really influence the decisions the host is making.

I hadn't really heard anything about Beam before this, but it looks like they know what they're doing, so I'll be interested to see what they do under Microsoft in the future.

Microsoft acquires Beam interactive livestreaming service [Microsoft]
It's just the beginning [Beam Interactive]

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Kevin McClusky
Kevin McCluskyContributor   gamer profile

I'm a longtime member of Destructoid, and you may have known me in a prior life as Qalamari. ... more + disclosures


 


 



Filed under... #Mergers and Acquisitions #Microsoft #streaming games #Technology #Twitch.tv

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