Microsoft has released the Beam app to select members of the Xbox Insider Program, months before its consumer release aimed at replacing the Twitch live streaming service on Xbox consoles.
Beam, which rivals Twitch as well as Youtube Gaming, was acquired by Microsoft in 2016. It allows users to not only upload their videos but also interact with their viewers. It also boasts features like real-time interaction for viewers during gameplay and the Software Development Kit lets developers create these interactive experiences with very little new code. Real-time streaming takes less than a second thanks to its HTML 5 format and hence offers a better experience compared to platforms that need multiple plugins.
Mike Ybarra, head of Platform Engineering at Xbox said Beam is being built as a feature of Xbox One and Windows 10, making it one of the easiest and quickest ways to stream gameplay.
With Beam, streaming and viewing will be like a role playing game and users will be able to earn ‘sparks’ — game currency — and gain experience by streaming interactive experiences and even just being idle. The ‘featured now’ section is where users can interact with people streaming interactive videos, though at the cost of a certain number of sparks.
Beam released an app for iOS and Android, but it had to be updated after users complained that the version was extremely buggy with massive delays. The update has not been able to fix most of the issues.
More information on the Beam app will be available at Game Developer Conference 2017 which will take place towards the end of February.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has released “Game Mode” feature for Windows 10 that will enhance the PC gaming experience for users making it run faster. They will also release an updated version of Arena on Xbox Live where you can play in organised tournaments or create your own, making eSports available for everyone.