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Did you know Microsoft owned a live-streaming service called Beam? No, neither did we. But just as we’re finding out it exists, Microsoft is rebranding it to Mixer. As well as a new name, Mixer has gained new features, signalling Microsoft’s intent to compete with Twitch and YouTube.

If someone had told me a few years ago that people would watch other people play video games E-Sports on ESPN: How the Web Turned Gaming Pro E-Sports on ESPN: How the Web Turned Gaming Pro Read More online, I would have branded them bonkers. But now, in 2017, that’s exactly the situation we find ourselves in. I don’t particularly understand it myself, but millions of people can’t be wrong, right?

Mixer Lets Viewers Interact With Streamers

Beam originally launched in January 2017 to compete with Twitch and YouTube. In August 2016, Microsoft acquired Beam for an undisclosed sum of money. Now, nine months on, Microsoft is rebranding Beam to Mixer, and adding a slew of new features designed to help it compete.

In the Xbox Wire announcement, co-founder Matt Salsamendi said, “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 was already slightly different from Twitch and YouTube by virtue of allowing viewers to interact with streamers. That core feature, which lets viewers make in-game decisions, is staying, and will be augmented by interactive tools already being explored by the likes of Telltale Games.

The new features are headlined by co-streaming, which lets four gamers combine their streams on one page, whether or not they’re playing the same game. Mixer is also gaining mobile apps on Android and on iOS, with the ability to stream games live from your smartphone coming soon.

Mixer Hopes to Compete With Twitch and YouTube

Mixer will struggle to compete with Twitch Run a Better Twitch Stream With These Tools Run a Better Twitch Stream With These Tools Twitch channels rarely grow popular by accident. Far more often, fame and attention are the result of long hours, innovative ideas, and tireless dedication to making quality content. Read More and YouTube Is YouTube Red Worth the Money? 7 Things You Need to Consider Is YouTube Red Worth the Money? 7 Things You Need to Consider YouTube Red has made headlines, both good and bad, but is the $10-a-month subscription service actually worth the money? Here, we look at the facts, and draw some conclusions. Read More . Not because it’s worse than them, but because they’re already so well-established. Thankfully, Microsoft is seeking to differentiate Mixer from Twitch and YouTube, and, as competition is healthy, we kinda hope Mixer succeeds.

Do you ever watch people play video games? If so, which live-streaming service do you use? What makes Twitch so good? What makes YouTube so good? Have you ever tried Beam? What did you think? Will you be trying Mixer? Please let us know in the comments below!

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