Microsoft on Thursday reincarnated its Beam game streaming service as Mixer and added several new features, including a co-streaming option that can display multiple channels on a single screen.
Co-streaming (pictured above) allows up to four people to combine their broadcasts onto a single Mixer page. While its obvious use would be to show what each player's avatar is doing in the same game, it can also combine streams from any users playing any games, either on Windows or Xbox. A chat column on the right side of the screen lets you comment on the action.
Mixer also has a new app that allows you to stream directly from your smartphone. For now, the app can only stream "self-broadcasts" using the phone's camera, but Microsoft plans to add the ability to stream whatever game is displaying on the screen. Twitch's mobile app offers similar capabilities.
To broaden its appeal among people who aren't hooked on video game streaming, (or perhaps are hooked on Twitch) Mixer will now come with a moderated Channel One that hosts tips and tricks, live streams, and other content. Similar curated content will also show up on the new Mixer page on the Xbox One dashboard.
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Beam originated as a separate company that Microsoft acquired last summer, around the same time Amazon's Twitch game-streaming service began adding new features in earnest to appeal to more mainstream users, a trajectory that culmintaed in a tie-in with Amazon Prime.
Beam was well-poised to compete with Twitch since it comes baked into Windows and Xbox devices via the Windows Game bar or the Xbox One guide. Adding features is a no-brainer, but to add users Beam had to get a new name, according to Microsoft.
"We believe so much in the power of the platform and want to grow it in every major market around the world," Microsoft engineering lead Matt Salsamendi wrote in a blog post. "Unfortunately, that wasn't something we could do with the Beam name."
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