Microsoft has acquired Beam, a Seattle-based interactive game streaming service that lets viewers play along with streamers as they watch.
Players interacting through Beam can direct the play of the person streaming, doing things like setting which weapon loadout they take into battle for multiplayer shooters, for example. It launched at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2016, and won Startup Battlefield competition. Visual controls provide viewers the ability to help players pick quests, and you can even assign challenges that alter the gameplay considerably from what you’d get via a typical play through.
“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. Using “Minecraft” as one example, 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 wrote in a blog post
Co-founder and CEO of Beam,Matt Salsamendi wrote in a blog post that no immediate changes are planned for the platform, but that the Microsoft acquisition will help Beam grow the platform and add new features and game integrations thanks to the addition support the larger company can provide.
For Beam, the acquisition gives its small team the resources of Microsoft’s Xbox division to continue building out the product. For now, CEO Matt Salsamendi says Beam will continue operating even as he and his colleagues integrate into the Xbox engineering group. In a blog post on Beam’s website, Salsamendi says the service grew to around 100,000 users after launching in January of this year. “As part of Xbox, we’ll be able to scale faster than we’ve ever been able to before,” he writes. “We’re expanding the team, bolstering our infrastructure, and most importantly, continuing to grow and support the amazing community at Beam.”