Beam

Several months ago Microsoft made a big move in the live-streaming world by purchasing their own company. Today, Beam goes live on the Xbox One for select users. As of now, members of the Xbox One Insider Program will gain access to live-streaming via Beam beginning today, before the roll out to the rest of the user base this spring.

It was about six months ago when Microsoft announced that they had acquired Beam, a live-streaming company competitor to companies like Twitch. Today they announced via Xbox Wire that they have officially combined the service with their consoles and PC OS. Beam's primary difference is the system's interactivity which allows viewers to not simply chat with a streamer, but also to interact with the game and drop audio lines. They also boast sub-second latency, meaning that the streamer and the viewer are looking at the same thing at the same time.

While Beam certainly doesn't have the following that brands like Twitch or YouTube enjoy, the fact that Beam is a Microsoft brand could easily make the service become the go-to choice for Xbox One gamers. Beam is not simply an additional app that you need to run alongside your game. In this case, Beam is a choice built into the Xbox One's own menu, this makes starting broadcasts about as simple as they can possibly be.

Beam is now available to the Xbox Insider members who gain regular access to Xbox Live updates before the general public. The Insiders have the benefit of early access to new features while being used as beta testers to make sure that updates are functioning properly.

Streaming is a huge industry for games right now, though the vast majority still do their streaming on PC. Both Xbox and PlayStation have implemented ways to stream via their console.

It will be interesting to see how Beam is adopted by the Xbox One and Windows 10 streamers. Those with existing audiences on other platforms would be highly unlikely to make the switch to another system. However, for Xbox One players who have not jumped into streaming previously, Beam might make giving it a try something worthwhile. An Xbox One early adopter who owns a Kinect already has all the pieces required to stream, something wich could be intimidating on PC. Perhaps the new platform will give other streamers, who might otherwise get lost in the din, a chance to get noticed.

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