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Microsoft’s Beam Renamed Mixer to Focus on “Bringing People Together”

Microsoft announced that their live-streaming service, Beam, has changed its name to Mixer and has added a new feature, co-streaming, yesterday.

“Unfortunately, that wasn’t something we could do with the Beam name,” said Co-founder and Mixer Engineering Lead Matt Salsamendi, “We chose Mixer as our new name because it represents what we love most about the service… how it brings people together.”

One major feature that comes with Mixer’s name change is co-streaming, which allows up to four streamers to combine their streams, Salsamendi revealed on Microsoft’s official news website, Xbox Wire. This will create a split-screen mode as well as combining the chat, so that the users can interact with their audience without having to switch between streams to watch or comment, which would be useful for action-packed MOBAs like League of Legends, Salsamendi explained.

One of its competitors, Twitch, currently does not have the option to co-stream with friends without the use of additional software, according to CNBC. Twitch has allowed co-streaming in the past for events like E3 and The Game Awards 2016, as said on Twitch’s official news website, Twitch Blog.

“Mixer represents our vision for the next generation of multiplayer,” said Salsamendi, “watching and participating alongside your friends in gameplay streaming from anywhere in the world.”

In addition, Mixer will be launching a beta version of their mobile streaming, which will allow users to broadcast certain mobile games on the go, like the smash hit mobile game Pokémon GO. Eventually, when mobile streaming is officially launched, users can co-stream with others unrestricted whether it be on a Microsoft computer, a mobile device, or Microsoft’s console, Xbox One. Other new features include Channel One, a channel dedicated to highlighting content and streams on Mixer and the inclusion of the Mixer page on the Xbox One dashboard.

One of Mixer’s highlighted main features is that it allows viewers of live-streams to change the course of the game through interaction, and claims that it doesn’t have a several second delay that its other competitors have so that the player and their viewers can be involved in gameplay. Salsamendi used Telltale games as an example of this smooth audience interaction, explaining that games such as Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series and others shown at conventions had to have no delay so that the dialogue and choices can flow without stuttering.

“In the online space, this type of ‘live audience’ interaction is only possible on a service without latency issues since it’s important that the dialogue and gameplay feel smooth and natural,” said Salsamendi.

These features are now available in Microsoft’s Interactive 2.0 development kit, encouraging developers to create games that would further promote this new platform for streaming.

Salsamendi also announced that Microsoft has created a studio dedicated to Mixer, Mixer NYC Studio, located on the 5th floor of the Microsoft Store in New York City.

The goal of the studio is to bring together an audience and hold gaming events “with professional-grade gaming stations, a control room that supports 2D and 3D graphic effects, a digital audio system bringing arena, concert sound quality, full interactive lighting control, an LED video wall, shoutcaster desks and player lounges, along with stage, audience and commentary setups,” Salsamendi said.

Microsoft celebrated Mixer’s announcement with a celebration that included gaming streams (and co-streams) which included Forza Motorsport 6For HonorRocket League, and more, an introduction to Mixer partners and to their weekly show, This Week in Esports, and a fireworks show named “Mixerworks”.

Mixer will be on display at E3 from June 11-15 and stream the Xbox briefing in 4K Ultra HD.

Featured image via Pixabay/Simon.

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