We've hardly had time to get acquainted with Beam, the name of Microsoft's live game streaming service that was introduced to Windows 10 with the Creators Update, but it's time to call it something else. That's because Microsoft today announced a name change, along with a few new features.
Beam is now called Mixer. Matt Salsamendi, one of the co-founders of Mixer and the service's engineering lead, said it was a "tough decision" to change the name and not one that he and Microsoft made lightly. So why do it?
"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," Salsamendi stated in a blog post announcing the name change.
He also used the name change as an opportunity to knock the competition.
"Mixer is livestreaming that is actually LIVE, compared to the 10-20 second latency you typically get on other platforms," Salsamendi added.
Name changes like this typically don't occur unless there is a legal reason behind it, as was the case when Microsoft renamed its SkyDrive cloud service to OneDrive. If that is the case here, Microsoft is not fessing up to it.
In any event, there is more here than just a rebranding to Mixer. In an attempt to separate Mixer from competing services such as Twitch and YouTube, Microsoft added a co-streaming service that lets four PC streamers combine their broadcasts into a shared split-screen view.
This is available now to all Mixer users. In a few weeks time, Microsoft will add the ability for Xbox One users to invite friends to co-stream right from the Guide.
Tying in with this new ability is a new beta app for mobile devices called Mixer Create. Available for Android and iOS devices, it enables self-broadcasting from mobile phones and tablets. Microsoft says it will add the ability to stream gameplay from mobile devices to the Mixer service sometime soon. Once this rolls out, mobile users will be able to co-stream with friends who are broadcasting on Windows 10 PCs, as well as Xbox One consoles and other mobile devices.
Microsoft also added Channel One, a moderated channel that is always on and shows what is happening across Mixer. Microsoft will use this channel to highlight various content, such as major game releases, livestream events, esports updates, and so forth.