Microsoft recently announced it acquired the streaming service Beam, and this could either be awesome or just okay. Beam is an already established streaming service that allows its users to create interfaces for streamers to directly influence the live stream. In some cases this can be as in depth (and masochistic) as allowing the followers to have a full controller input at their disposal. It can also be as simple as giving viewers the ability to add or subtract items from a streamer’s inventory, or even give a streamer goals to work for. It seems like it could be a really interesting premise if played out right.
On its surface, this could be a really cool idea. Imagine the possibilities of interactivity between a streamer and their community. It gives viewers more of an incentive to join and watch a stream if they get to have some input, and for streamers they can use this as way to rope in viewers or provide incentive for donations. It’s a great idea if it’s curated appropriately, which Beam is noted for its individualized attention in its customer service. Beam presents a level of community interaction that previous streaming services greatly lacked outside of using odd methods of chat interaction. I firmly hope this added level of interactivity increases interest in the streaming community and gets more people to support streaming as a whole.
But I’d be lying if I wasn’t worried about Beam joining the big leagues in being picked up by Microsoft. First off, I’ve always been wary of Microsoft’s platform of making the “all in one” system that is the Xbox One. It seems to me they’re just adding tons of possibilities with apps and the like, but doing little to really help nurture their individual acquisitions outside of allowing them on the platform in the first place. That said, how are they going to help Beam stand up to streaming giants like Twitch that are widely known and used? Beam already has a fairly solid community but whether or not it has the draw to move into mainstream usage has yet to be seen. If anything, hopefully Beam streams could be featured alongside Twitch streams in each game’s hub on Xbox Live. It’s an interesting premise and I truly hope it gets the credence it deserves.
Microsoft’s gathering of Beam underneath their umbrella of available services is a huge win for Beam. I just hope they don’t get lost in the ever growing ether of available on Xbox One. What do you think about Beam joining Microsoft?