Microsoft revealed today that the company's Xbox One and Windows 10 streaming service Beam has been renamed to Mixer.
The name change, according to Microsoft, was necessary to grow the service in every major market in the world, and because it symbolizes better what the service is about. That's "bringing people together" according to Microsoft.
It is an odd-explanation for a name change though, considering that it seems highly unlikely that Beam would have held the service back in its world domination plans.
This bringing together is a core aspect of Mixer however, and it is not just limited to joining someone's broadcast to participate in chat. Mixer offers chat, no doubt about that, but it also introduces new interactive options. These depend on what is being streamed though, but it allows the watchers to interact with the streamer and vote for certain actions.
One example that Microsoft's gives on the Mixer welcome blog is the new Crowd Play functionality of some Telltale Games. Telltale Games produces adventure games that are decision based, which means that you have to make decisions in these games, and that these decisions have consequences later on.
The new Crowd Play functionality displays these decisions as vote buttons to watchers, who can then recommend actions to the player.
A couple of new features launch today with the Mixer launch. Probably the biggest of the all is called Co-Streaming. This brings up to four streamers together in a single viewer experience. So, instead of just seeing one stream on the screen as a viewer, you get to see up to four.
This feature looks similar to how the four player local play mode looked like on consoles such as SNES or newer consoles.
While up to four players that play the same game may join streams, it is not a requirement. This means that you can join different streams using Mixer.
This is definitely an interesting option. Think of multiplayer streams where all team members would broadcast their screen so that you could see action on all player screens at once, and not by switching between different perspectives, or relying on a commentator to do so.
Microsoft published Mixer Create Beta today for iOS and Android as well. The mobile application supports self-broadcasting in this iteration, but will support mobile game streaming in a future update as well.
This brings another huge audience to Mixer, and could give the service quite the boost once it becomes available and is released as a stable version.
Mixer is competing with Twitch obviously, as well as with other streaming services such as YouTube Gaming.
Mixer's advantage is that its streaming capabilities are built-in to Windows 10 and Xbox One. If you want to broadcast on Twitch, you need to install software to do so, at least that is how it was last time I checked this out.
Twitch has the numbers right now obviously. If you check out the viewers on Mixer right now, you will notice that they are lower than those on Twitch. This is likely going to change at least somewhat in the near future.
Now You: What's your impression of Mixer?
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.