Microsoft Beam is no more. Instead, the platform holder's interactive livestreaming service will now be known as Mixer, marking the next step in the evolution of its Xbox-based Twitch rival.
"Mixer represents our vision for the next generation of multiplayer – watching and participating alongside your friends in gameplay streaming from anywhere in the world," co-founder and Mixer engineering lead Matt Salsamendi wrote onXbox Wire.
"But, more than just the name, we're launching several of the features that you all have been asking for. Features that will unlock a whole new world of possibilities for social streaming, and help viewers find the content they're looking for across the service."
The decision to change Beam's name was a "tough decision," says Salsamendi, but the team felt the service wouldn't be able to grow any further under the Beam moniker.
"We chose Mixer as our new name because it represents what we love most about the service….how it brings people together," he said.
To celebrate its surprise re-launch, Microsoft's added lots of new features to the service to allow users to watch streams and interact and play with fellow streamers in "near real time," making it much faster than the 10-20 second lag present on other platforms.
Co-streaming, for instance, is now live, which allows up to four streamers to combine their streams into a single viewer experience, while the Mixer Create mobile app is now in beta. This enables self-broadcasting on Android and iOS devices.
Viewers will also be able to actively get involved in what's taking place onscreen, such as influencing quest selection, tools and movement. 'Crowd Play' is one such feature, which Telltale Games has implemented in its Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series title, as well as The Walking Dead: A New Frontier, and Batman: The Telltale Series. This will let audiences choose what happens at critical story moments, as well as determine the outcome of the adventure as a whole.
Users don't need to download any additional software, either, as Mixer is built directly into the Guide on Xbox One and the Game Bar in Windows 10. Here's the team explaining a bit more about what fans can expect from the service: