Beam rebrands to Mixer as Microsoft introduces co-streaming

Well that was fast: even though streaming service Beam was integrated into Xbox One and Windows 10 just a couple of months ago, it's already getting rebranded. Microsoft revealed the new name today as Mixer, introducing a handful of new features to go along with this relaunch of sorts. Aside from the name change, it doesn't seem like any drastic changes are being made to the way the service operates, which will be encouraging to folks who have already bought into the platform.

Microsoft isn't giving the service a new name just for the sake of rebranding, though. Instead, it sounds like Microsoft wants to roll this out on a global scale and the Beam name was going to make that difficult. By switching to Mixer, it could have an easier time launching in other regions.

"Why the name change? This was a tough decision, and not one that we made lightly," said co-founder Matt Salsamendi in a blog post on Major Nelson's website. "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. We chose Mixer as our new name because it represents what we love most about the service... how it brings people together."

Features that make Mixer stand out from the pack, namely Twitch and Youtube, are still present. Those include things like streaming without a delay – while viewers watch with around a 20 second delay on Twitch, Mixer's latency is low enough that it can claim real-time streaming. Just as well, we have features like Crowd Play, which is present in some of Telltale's games and allows viewers to decide what happens at critical story moments.

Of the new features launching today, co-streaming is probably the most exciting. Co-streaming allows up to four Mixer streamers to team up and offer one single split-screen stream from multiple sources. While this is an attractive feature for a group of friends playing a team-based game like Overwatch or PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS, Mixer clarifies that the streamers don't even need to be playing the same game. With a single, unified chat, viewers will be able to react to each stream in the same place.

Beyond co-streaming, a new app called Mixer Create is entering beta on both iOS and Android. For the moment, Mixer Create only allows streamers to self-broadcast from their mobile device, but not long from now, it will let you stream mobile games as well. There's a fairly big audience for mobile games on Twitch, so by offering an easy way to stream from mobile devices, Mixer could potentially capture some of that group.

Add to that Mixer's new "Channel One," which features curated content from the Mixer community 24/7, and a page dedicated to Mixer on the Xbox One dashboard, and it becomes clear that Microsoft is doing everything it can to hit the ground running with this new name change. In the grand scheme, though, Mixer is still competing with giants, so it'll certainly be interesting to see how the service grows in the coming months and years. Has Mixer become your platform of choice over Twitch? Head down to the comments section and let us know.