Microsoft’s New Acquisition Takes on Amazon’s Twitch

The Xbox division of Microsoft has officially acquired live streaming startup Beam Interactive in a move that will take on Amazon’s expanding live streaming service Twitch.

The purchase signals that Microsoft has plans for the integration of a live streaming platform with its Xbox video game interface. Beam Interactive’s live streaming service is unique in that it allows users to participate in the streamers’ gameplay and live broadcast in real time, so users can essentially play alongside broadcasters, which could engage users more than Twitch’s “watch-and-chat” experience.


Beam Interactive offers live play alongside live streams.


The move will give Xbox the advantage of being more inherently social and Microsoft is hoping it will drive up its Xbox Live service usage, as users would need to subscribe to the service in order to utilize the live streaming feature. The investment in live streaming is a strategic one that could pay off.

E-sports has become a highly popular video genre for Millennials and Generation Z viewers over the past few years. Young viewers watch millions of hours e-sports video online, and even US pay TV network TBS has integrated e-sports video into its linear programming to appeal to youthful audiences. Adding the capability to live stream gameplay as well as play alongside other players that are streaming gameplay is an important move in the space and one that keeps Microsoft’s video strategy current.

The service is designed to work with any game and is ahead of the competition in terms of technology and what it can do. the question is if it can reach the popularity that Twitch has earned over the years as the destination for live gameplay streaming. Twitch is now looking to expand beyond gaming and is integrating new genres and shows centering around creativity and food…

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