Microsoft is acquiring Seattle-based game-streaming vendor Beam for an undisclosed amount, company officials said on August 11.
Beam gives viewers the ability to "watch and play along with their favorite game streamers in real time," said Microsoft in its announcement. From Microsoft's blog post, it looks like Microsoft plans to incorporate Beam's technology with Xbox Live and Minecraft.
Update: A Microsoft spokesperson emailed me the following clarification re: Minecraft. "Beam interactivity is easy for streamers to enable and customize and is designed to work with any game. Minecraft is one of several Xbox games on Beam, but we have not announced any plans to integrate Beam technology into Microsoft Studios titles."
Microsoft is said to have been among the bidders for game-streaming service Twitch -- which Amazon eventually ended up buying for $970 million.
According to a post on August 10 by Beam CEO Matt Salsamendi, Beam will become part of the Xbox team. Salsamendi said he will continue to leald the Beam team as part of the Xbox engineering group.
Beam launched its beta on January 5, Salsamendi said. Going forward, the Beam team plans to add new interactive game integrations, he said.
In its latest quarterly earnings report, Microsoft officials noted that Xbox console revenue is declining, but Xbox Live monthly active users are up. Microsoft no longer reports exact Xbox console unit sales numbers.
In spite of console losses, Microsoft continues to keep its hand in gaming because games are the biggest app category in the mobile space. Given Microsoft's focus on the cloud, services like Xbox Live are also critical to Microsoft's monetization strategy, moving forward.