Microsoft Acquires Beam Streaming Service

Microsoft announced Thursday it had acquired live-streaming service Beam, which specializes in allowing video gamers to watch others play or play each other in real time.

Microsoft’s Chad Gibson, partner group program manager for Xbox Live, said the company would integrate Beam’s technology into its Xbox Live service. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Bringing Beam, their award-winning team and their inventive technology into the Xbox family supports our ongoing commitment to make Xbox Live more social and fun,” Gibson wrote in a blog post. “Using Minecraft as one example, with Beam you don’t just watch your favorite streamer play, you play along with them. You can give them new challenges and make real-time choices that affect their gameplay, from tool selection to quests to movement; all through simple visual controls.

“One of the best parts about Beam is that interactivity is easy for streamers to enable and customize, and is designed to work with any game.”

Seattle-based Beam evolved from a passive viewing experience to an interactive gaming platform (that’s now 100,000-plus users strong) after just a few months of beta testing earlier this year, according to Beam CEO Matt Salsamendi.

“As part of Xbox, we’ll be able to scale faster than we’ve ever been able to before,” he wrote in a blog post. “We’re expanding the team, bolstering our infrastructure, and most importantly, continuing to grow and support the amazing community at Beam.”

He said he expects the integration with Xbox will result in more interactive gaming broadcasts for more games, along with more people signing on to the service. Salsamendi will remain onboard to lead Beam’s team, while Beam itself will be integrated into Xbox’s engineering group.