Streaming and sharing your game time with the world is hot right now, and developers and publishers know it. Microsoft snapped up Beam, a Seattle-based interactive game streaming service and Twitch rival, last August and after integrating it into the latest versions of both Windows 10 and the Xbox dashboard earlier this year, we're now seeing how the service is set to evolve. Today the company announced a name change for Beam, but more importantly it also rolled out a significant new feature: co-streaming, where up to four players can combine their broadcasts into a single stream. Say hello to Mixer.
"Co-streaming doesn’t require streamers to play the same game or even do the same activity, and you can join a co-stream with friends who are streaming from different types of devices," explains co-founder and engineer Matt Salsamendi. "Four friends can broadcast a co-op session of League of Legends or Playerunknown's Battlegrounds, and then just as easily stream a remote live-band jam session from their phone or play a multiplayer board game with their viewers."
If you're not already one of the gamers who streams their exploits to the world, know that co-streaming is a big deal. It'll make competitive play a lot easier to follow and a lot more fun to broadcast. "Right now it supports up to four people and you can choose how that's presented in the stream," Salsamendi says. "There are multiple different layouts, and you can choose to have something Brady Bunch style that's a split-screen view, or you can have it switch between individual streams. As a viewer you'll see whatever the streamer has chosen, plus it will blend all of the chats together as a single view as well."
Mixer can offer this because of its other big feature, the happy absence of latency.
"Mixer is livestreaming that’s actually live, compared to the 10 – 20 second latency you typically get on other platforms," says Salsamendi, throwing just a little shade at Mixer's competitors. "What’s more, viewers can actively participate in what’s happening on screen instead of just watching from the sidelines. With Mixer, you can influence everything from quest selection to tools to movement, mixing it up with your favorite streamers to create a new kind of gaming experience." Mixer points to players using this interactivity in Minecraft to change the weather and Telltale's crowd play feature that lets viewers vote on choices in games like its Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy.
Mixer is available for Windows and Xbox One users that are signed up for the Insiders program today. There are other new features to check out too, like a new mobile app called Mixer Create that goes into beta today. You can use it to self-broadcast, and later the team will launch mobile gameplay streaming. Pokémon Go hunts of the future just got a little less lonely.
Mixer is also launching Channel One, which sounds like a dystopian news service but is in fact a moderated stream of live events and esports updates and big game releases. Anything that Mixer thinks you'll like, 24/7. Mixer is also going to show up on your Xbox One dashboard so you can keep track.
If you want more details the Mixer team will be broadcasting from 11am PST today with chat about the features, demonstrations and some For Honor, Rocket League, and Gang Beasts.