Microsoft has rolled out some big changes for its game streaming service, starting with the name. Formerly called Beam, the service has now been rebranded as Mixer, and the rebranding brings with it some exciting new features.

microsoft mixer beam

Microsoft Beam changed to Mixer

Microsoft quickly gobbled up Beam last year. Now today in a blog post, the Beam team explained the meaning behind the new name and highlighted the best new features users will find in the new Mixer service.

They explained that they didn’t feel that could grow the game live-streaming service under the Beam name, so they selected the name Mixer to represent how the service “brings people together.” They said the live-streaming service unites people through what they called the “special sauce,” which is not only being able to watch streams but also interact with the gamers who are streaming and also play in real-time. They explained that Mixer is truly live streaming rather than the 10- to 20-second delay other platforms usually have.

Microsoft highlights interactive gameplay

Microsoft’s rebranded service now enables people to watch but also actively participate while they watch. Mixer enables users to “influence everything from quest selection to tools to movement, mixing it up with your favorite streamers to create a new kind of gaming experience,” the post reads.

For example, the Mixer team said that the Minecraft team is experimenting with the interactive nature of Mixer and considering officially integrating it directly into the game. They also said that some Minecraft players have built interactive experiences using Mixer’s technology to enable viewers to affect the game they’re watching, like by changing the weather in the game or spawning in mobs.

They also highlighted other games that offer examples of what they’re trying to do, like Telltale Games’ Crowd Play feature, which is in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series and other titles under the “Telltale Series” branding.

Mixer adds co-streaming

In addition to the interactive features, Microsoft is also adding some new features, such as co-streaming, which is now available for use. The service now allows up to four users to combine their streams to create one viewing experience by displaying streams from multiple channels on one Mixer page. The result is one stream that’s a combination of four separate streams brought together into one split-screen view. There’s also a centralized chat window.

Co-streamers don’t have to do the same activity or even use the same type of devices. Within the next several weeks, Xbox One users will find that they can invite their friends to join a co-stream from the Guide.

Microsoft spotlights the Xbox One

Also today, Microsoft is launching the Mixer Create beta, an app for iOS and Android devices that enable users to broadcast from their mobile devices. The company plans to add live-streaming capabilities for games to the app sometime soon. The company is also adding Channel One, an “always-on moderated channel of content that lets you see what’s happening across Mixer” and a new dedicated Mixer Page to the Xbox One Dashboard. Xbox Insiders will see the page starting today.

Xbox One and Windows 10 users can easily try out the new features, as Microsoft has built the service into the guide on the Xbox One and the game bar on Windows 10 devices. Users can start streaming their games without any additional software.