Since its inception, Microsoft’s live-streaming platform was known as Beam. That changes today, with the team behind the platform announcing a name change to Mixer.According to Mixer co-founder and engineering lead Matt Salsamendi, the name change was a difficult, but necessary, decision to make, if Mixer is to succeed on a global scale:
Why the name change? This was a tough decision, and not one that we made lightly. But, it was something that we decided on as a team. We believe so much in the power of the platform and want to grow it in every major market around the world. Unfortunately, that wasn’t something we could do with the Beam name.
Apart from the name change, Mixer also announced several features that will make their way to the platform soon, the headliner being “co-streaming.” The feature allows as many as four people to broadcast their streams together as one shared split-screen view. This would allow folks to watch League of Legends and Overwatch matches from multiple viewpoints, except the streamers do not need to play the same game – they can do different things while their streams are simultaneously broadcast.
Mixer also mentions two features that distinguish it from the likes of YouTube and Twitch – interactive streaming and low latency. Interactive streaming allows people to affect gameplay for titles that support the feature, with recent Telltale Games titles like The Walking Dead: A New Frontier and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: A Telltale Series having incorporated a “crowd play” feature.
As for low latency, Mixer advertises its one-second latency, which compares to the 10-20 seconds of latency on competing services.Whether such features will win over folks that already use YouTube and Twitch remains to be seen, but at least Mixer can say it is trying.
Mixer’s “co-streaming” feature is available today for all PC users and Insiders on Xbox One. The service also released a Mixer Create mobile app for Android that supports self-broadcasting and will eventually include the ability to stream mobile games. For comparison, the current Mixer mobile app only allows for stream-watching.