Many people consume videogames by watching streams of other people playing them. Microsoft hopes to make it a more interactive experience with the acquisition of Beam, a live-streaming service that lets users influence and interact with the game being streamed.
Beam lets viewers suggest challenges and even affect in-game elements such as the quest being undertaken or weapon loadouts. That way viewers won't have to simply hope that the streamer reads their suggestion in chat and do it voluntarily. An example provided was that viewers can play Minecraft along with the streamer.
Microsoft says that this acquisition supports its "ongoing commitment to make Xbox Live more social and fun."
Meanwhile, Beam CEO Matt Salsamendi says that, "As part of Xbox, we’ll be able to scale faster than we’ve ever been able to before."
One advantage that Beam has other rival streaming services is that its technology cuts down the lagtime between what's actually happening in the player's game and what the viewers see on screen.
Microsoft didn't disclose the financial terms of the agreement. It should be interesting to see what it has planned for Beam.