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article imageMicrosoft rebrands its Beam game streaming service as 'Mixer'

By James Walker     May 25, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft has unexpectedly renamed Beam, the game streaming service it acquired last year. Now known as "Mixer," the company has unveiled a slew of new features that fans have been vocally requesting. The name change has proved divisive though.
The announcement was made today in a post on the new Mixer website and on Microsoft's Xbox Wire. The reasoning behind the new name hasn't been disclosed. However, Beam co-founder Matt Salsamendi said Mixer was intended to help the service grow "in every major market around the world." He added that "wasn't something we could do" as Beam, implying that the company could have run into trademark issues in some regions.
Mixer has apparently been chosen as the replacement because it reflects the team's ambitions for the platform. It "mixes" people together and connects them with streamers. Salsamendi suggested the name evokes the service's defining feature, its unique interactivity that lets the audience trigger actions within the streamer's game world.
He described the decision as "tough" and a team effort:
"This was a tough decision, and not one that we made lightly. But, it was something that we decided on as a team. We believe so much in the power of the platform and want to grow it in every major market around the world. Unfortunately, that wasn’t something we could do with the Beam name. We chose Mixer as our new name because it represents what we love most about the service….how it brings people together."
Mixer
Mixer
Microsoft
Not everyone seems to be impressed though. Comments on the introductory video for the website indicate that many believe Beam was the better name. Short, rhyming with "livestream" and with connotations of streaming itself, it appears to be a better choice than Mixer. It's possible Microsoft has wider ambitions for the brand that Mixer will be better able to convey. At present, the YouTube thread is dominated by people claiming Beam had more meaning though.
Alongside the rebrand, Microsoft has also released several major new features for Mixer to celebrate the start of the service. Significantly, it has rolled out support for co-streaming, a long-requested capability that allows up to four streamers to combine their feeds into a single split-screen view.
Mixer
Mixer
Microsoft
You can co-stream with players wherever they are in the world and irrespective of which device they're using. Although it has obvious benefits to tutorials and collaborative gaming, there are no restrictions on how the mode is used. The streamers are under no obligation to play the same game or complete the same quest. The audience can comment in a single combined chat thread to leave thoughts on the stream.
Microsoft is also extending Mixer into mobile livestreaming for the first time. From today, you can download the beta of Mixer Create on iOS and Android devices. The app lets you broadcast from your phone to maintain your following while you're on the go. In the future, it'll also be possible to stream what's on your display, allowing Mixer to expand into the hugely popular realm of mobile gaming.
Mixer
Mixer
Microsoft
Additional new features include an always-on, moderated Mixer news feed called Channel One, the addition of a dedicated Mixer tab to the Xbox One's Dashboard and the launch of a special new Mixer production studio at Microsoft's flagship New York City retail store. You can visit the facility and use its gaming computers, graphic effects studio and digital audio production space to host special Mixer livestreams.
Today's announcement represents the first substantial changes Microsoft has made to Beam since acquiring it last August. By rebranding it and giving the community some long-awaited features, it can firmly establish it as a first-party property. The Beam name will live on for a few more months in the places where it's used within Windows 10 and the Xbox One. The branding will be replaced entirely in future software updates.
More about Microsoft, Mixer, Beam, Gaming, PC gaming
 
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