Microsoft began its push into the livestream space in March with the launch of Beam, the company’s own service that could rival Twitch due to its focus on low latency and interaction between player and viewers. Today more features are coming to Beam, along with a new name for the service.
From now on, the service will be known as "Mixer," and the name change was made to emphasize the need to share content across Microsoft’s multiple platforms, which include the Xbox One, Windows 10 PCs, and even mobile devices. If you already use Mixer, you can try out some new features today, including co-streaming, which will allow you to broadcast four different streams on one channel. If you’re playing a game with three friends, this feature will let you show the perspective of each player simultaneously. However, co-streaming also works when you and your friends are playing different games.
If you’re looking for new content to watch, you can check out the new “Channel One.” The moderated channel serves as a starting point for newcomers to see the many broadcasts on Mixer at any given point in the day. If that’s enough, you can go to the new dedicated Mixer page on the Xbox dashboard and find the content you want based on a specific broadcaster or game.
Most streaming content today is through a console or PC, but Mixer will also let you stream from your phone with the beta version of its Mixer Create app. For now, you can only self-broadcast, or in other words, stream what you’re seeing through the phone’s camera. However, the Mixer team plans to implement a feature sometime in the future that will allow you to stream your mobile gameplay onto Mixer. The mobile gaming stream will also work with co-streaming so that you can continue to share your content on mobile while your friends play on PC or on the Xbox One.
To celebrate the new name and features, Microsoft will also hold multiple events on its Mixer channel starting at 11am PDT today that includes multiple game tournaments, highlights from the esports world, and a fireworks show at 9 pm PDT to conclude. The fireworks show will be different in that users can determine which rockets to launch into the sky. In order to provide your own input on the show, you’ll need to use Sparks, which you can earn by watching (you gain two Sparks per minute that you watch a Mixer stream) and by participating in interactive sessions throughout a livestream.
If you haven’t tried Mixer yet, you can check out our preview of its earlier version (when it was called Beam) at GDC.