Microsoft relaunched Beam, the video game live streaming platform it acquired a year ago, under the new name Mixer Thursday. In addition to the new branding, Microsoft also added a couple of new features to Mixer, including a mobile streaming app and the ability to combine up to four separate streams into one experience,
Microsoft acquired Beam last August as a response to the continued popularity of Amazon’s Twitch, as well as YouTube’s growing engagement in the live video game streaming space. Just like those two competitors, Mixer allows gamers to stream their game play directly to fans and followers.
But unlike Twitch and YouTube, Mixer is putting a bigger emphasis on interactivity, allowing the audience of a live streamer to directly impact her or his game play. To enable this, Mixer has built special tools for developers that allow them to add interactive live streaming directly to their games.
These features may eventually come to some of Microsoft’s marquee titles as well, according to a blog post penned by Mixer co-founder Matt Salsamendi: “The Minecraft team is experimenting with the interactivity that Mixer offers as a possibility for official game integration. And, some Minecraft community members have already created interactive experiences using this technology that allow viewers to do things like spawn in zombies or change the weather.”
The launch of a mobile app shows that Mixer’s ambition go beyond traditional PC and console gaming, and perhaps even beyond gaming, period. Mixer Create, an app that launched in beta for iOS and Android Thursday, initially focuses on traditional live video streaming, but will soon also allow users to stream their mobile game play — something that’s similar to Kamcord’s take on mobile live streaming.
Finally, Mixer is also looking to set itself apart from the competition by giving live streamers a way to more closely interact with each other. From the blog post: “Co-streaming enables multiple channel streams to be displayed on a single Mixer page. You and up to three other friends can deliver a stream that combines separate stream sources into one shared “split-screen” view, including a centralized chat experience.”
Amazon’s Twitch, for its part, has made moves in recent months to expand beyond just video game streaming as well. In March, Twitch streamed over 800 “Power Rangers” episodes as part of a 17-day marathon. Earlier this month, the service began a 18-day marathon of “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood,” streaming all 886 episodes of the show back-to-back.