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Microsoft acquires Beam, a company focused on interactive live-streams

Beam lets players influence the course of events rather than just sit back and watch streamers play.


Microsoft has acquired Beam, a company that provides interactive live-streaming services.

"I’m really excited about Xbox’s focus on community,” wrote Beam founder and CEO Matt Salsamendi in an email correspondence with Tech Crunch. “Beam is fundamentally built on a connected group of passionate individuals that love gaming, and Xbox is super in tune with that."

Neither Beam nor Microsoft disclosed terms of the acquisition. According to Microsoft, the Beam crew will join the Xbox team and "remains committed to its mission of importing users and streamers across platforms."

Beam adds active elements to the normally passive pastime of tuning in to watch streamers play games over services such as YouTube and Twitch. Using crowd-sourced controls, Beam users can do things like choose the streamer's weapon loadout, dictate which quests to do, add special challenges, and make other decisions that influence the course of the game.

Think of a streamer as the dungeon master in a game of D&D. Instead of calling all the shots, the DM uses Beam to let players weigh in on decisions and weaves the game around them.

Beam has been attracting notice since it launched at the 2016 TechCrunch Disrupt event in New York. Tech Crunch awarded it first place in its Startup Battlefield contest, and the Beam team raised approximately $420,000 in seed funding.

"On a personal note, I’m so proud of the entire team at Beam," Salsamendi wrote in a blog announcing the acquisition. "I’ve been fortunate enough to work alongside some crazy talented young individuals, and to everyone at Beam: Thank you. This is just the beginning. I couldn’t be more excited for the next years at Beam and I’m so happy to be able to share this awesome journey with all of you. Let’s do this!"

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at and @davidlcraddock.

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