Microsoft’s uphill battle against Twitch begins in earnest today with the rebranding of Beam to Mixer. Why the name change? Mixer co-founder Matt Salsamendi explains in a blog post. “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.”

Translation? Other companies/services are named Beam.

Microsoft knows they need to stand out against the juggernaut that is Twitch. No latency is a big plus, but the Twitch community is entrenched with their favorite streamers. Mixer’s new branding today came alongside a couple of cool new features.

Crowd play gives control to the audience

Take Twitch Plays and have the support built right into the game. Viewers control the game. Telltale Games has the support built right into three of their games (Guardians of the Galaxy, Batman and The Walking Dead)

Here’s a look at how it works.

Mixer crowd playing

Ok, that’s a badass feature for streaming. Mixer will probably never come close to toppling Twitch, but if the competition makes Twitch adopt similar features – it’s a win for all of us.

Co-streaming gives you four perspectives on one page

Mixer is touting the launch of the “first built-in cooperative streaming experience on a streaming platform” today. Up to four streamers can bring all their streams under one Mixer page.

You can watch a squad of four streaming Battlegrounds and keep an eye on each perspective. Here’s a little Sea of Thieves pirating showing it in action.

mixer co-streaming

Another solid feature for streaming. Amazon’s going to have to step their game up on Twitch. They have the lion’s share of the streaming market, but Microsoft appears to be making a serious push with their Mixer (Beam) acquisition.

Mixer will also have big presence at E3.

We’re also committed to making Mixer the premier place to watch Xbox at E3 June 11-15. Today, we’re excited to announce that Xbox will be broadcasting the E3 briefing in 4K Ultra HD, with a special edition Mixer 4K broadcast for those with a 4K A/V setup ready to go.

Microsoft is doing and saying all the right things with Mixer. At least, today. Implementing Mixer directly in Xbox and Windows 10 is a great move that should help adoption. And features like the one’s announced today could get the attention of some of the Twitch faithful. I doubt Mixer will ever dethrone Twitch, but competition is only a good thing.

Twitch has stood alone at the top pretty much since its inception. No competition means companies can get complacent. I won’t be shocked if similar features like the ones announced today make their way to Twitch. Probably sooner than expected too.

Twitch is already testing interactive features for Twitch streams. Look for Mixer and Twitch to go back and forth with new features in the months ahead. Awesome news for everyone who loves watching/streaming.

When I’m not playing Rocket League (best game ever), you can find me writing about all things games, space and more. You can reach me at alex@newsledge.com

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