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Microsoft Buys Beam, Brings Interactivity to Live Game Streams

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The next stage in video game live streaming is to make the experience interactive, so Microsoft has acquired Beam Interactive to enhance the Xbox experience. Microsoft announced yesterday that it has signed a purchase agreement, but didn't offer the price.

Beam Interactive is based in Seattle, Washington, and specializes in letting viewers become real-time participants in a video game live stream. Its technology will now be integrated with the Xbox. Microsoft notes that Beam's interactivity is simple for game streamers to turn on and customize, and that it works with any game.

Beam is a young startup, having launched in January 2016. It debuted the beta of its technology in May when it wowed the crowd at TechCrunch Disrupt NY and won the Startup Battlefield contest. The company's impressive sub-second latency makes interactive gaming possible.

"As part of Xbox, we’ll be able to scale faster than we’ve ever been able to before. We’re expanding the team, bolstering our infrastructure, and most importantly, continuing to grow and support the amazing community at Beam," Beam co-founder and CEO Matt Salsamendi writes in a blog post. He'll move to the Xbox engineering department where he'll lead the Beam team.

"We at Xbox are excited about this convergence between playing and watching, and want to provide gamers with the freedom and choice to have great multiplayer experiences across all of Beam’s platforms," notes Chad Gibson, partner group program manager for Xbox Live, in a blog post.

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