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Microsoft gets Twitch-y with Beam game streaming acquisition

Microsoft is fed up of gamers broadcasting Xbox games to Twitch and YouTube and has snapped up a live-streaming company of its own.

Redmond has purchased the fast-rising Beam start-up, which offers more interactive features than the market-dominating rivals.

Rather then simply watching the broadcast, Beam enables live interaction with viewers able to actively influence gameplay decisions.

“Using “Minecraft” as one example, with Beam you don’t just watch your favorite streamer play, you play along with them,” Xbox Live’s Chad Gibson explained in a blog post.

You can give them new challenges and make real-time choices that affect their gameplay, from tool selection to quests to movement; all through simple visual controls.

“In the highly anticipated “Sea of Thieves,” which is all about emergent adventures in a shared world, you can watch the drama play out between different crews from multiple player perspectives.”

The tool, which has a community of 100,000 active users, is designed to work with any existing game and the interactivity is “easy for streamers to enable.”

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Beam itself says nothing will change for users “right now,” but gamers will begin to see “awesome new features, epic new interactive game integrations and an influx of new members.”

“As part of Xbox, we’ll be able to scale faster than we’ve ever been able to before,” wrote CEO Matt Salsamendi.

“We’re expanding the team, bolstering our infrastructure, and most importantly, continuing to grow and support the amazing community at Beam.”

Game streaming has become hot property over the last few years, as e-sports have become huge business.

Two years ago, Amazon paid a whopping $970 million for Twitch, while Google has also made huge strides to build on its own gaming platforms with YouTube.

Microsoft just joined the club.

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