Microsoft just acquired Seattle-based company Beam in order to enhance the Xbox One experience. Beam will enable viewers to directly participate in a live streamer's gameplay and broadcast. Matt Salsamendi, CEO and co-founder of Beam remarked, “As part of Xbox, we’ll be able to scale faster than we’ve ever been able to before. We’re expanding the team, bolstering our infrastructure, and most importantly, continuing to grow and support the amazing community at Beam.”
Beam began in January 2016 as a “small group of passionate streamers and an awesome community”. It won Startup Battlefield and was able to grow its community to 100,000 people in a few short months. Salsamendi noted, “I vividly remember many of the hundreds of late nights that were spent. Hundreds of thousands of lines of code written. Millions of hours of streams during beta.”
Thanks to Beam, Xbox One users will now not only be able to watch and chat with their favorite streamers, but participate in real-time with the stream and broadcast. Viewers will be able to offer streamers, “new challenges and make real-time choices that affect their gameplay, from tool selection to quests to movement; all through simple visual controls.” Microsoft believes that this type of experience will be particularly exciting in a game like Sea of Thieves. The game is based upon immersive adventures and shared worlds. Microsoft has made several acquisitions this summer.
In June, MIcrosoft purchased LinkedIn for $26.2 billion USD. This was CEO Satya Nadella’s largest acquisition to date and was part of an attempt to focus more on business-oriented customers. That same month Microsoft acquired Wand Labs, a messaging app developer. The goal was to “bring together the power of human language with advanced machine intelligence.”
Viewers may soon see a white, slimmer version of the Xbox One in their favorite gamer’s streams. Microsoft has released the Xbox One S. The 2TB design is currently available, however the 1TB and 500GB versions will not be in stores until August 23rd.