New update to Microsoft's Beam streaming service brings redesign, more

by Nicholas Friedman

(Photo: Microsoft)

Rejoice! A major update to Microsoft's Twitch competitor, Beam, went live today, bringing with it a new video player, Xbox Live account sign-in and a new design for service's homepage, bringing a much-needed level of clarity and visibility to the platform.

While these features are new to most users, Beam Pro members have been testing them out to make sure they were ready to go live. Beam caught the spotlight in August of last year when Microsoft purchased the startup company.

Today's update, announced via Twitter by Beam founder Matt Salsamendi, dubs the new layout "Beam2, an entirely new Beam frontend."

The update to Beam's video player seems significant, increasing the max resolution to 1440p and at 60 fps, a step up from the previous iteration's output. The site itself also runs smoother, allowing users to get where they need to that much faster.

The biggest key to this update, though, is the addition of Xbox Live direct compatibilty, something Microsoft is pushing to become neccessary in the future. This opens the doors for a wide variety of possibilities, including account management, support and more, hopefully making the streaming process more intuitive.

Beam's promise is that it allows gamers and fans to become part of the game's being streamed, beyond the chat capabilities of services like Twitch and Ustream. Think marrying the properties of Telltale Games' audience modes with Twitch chat and interactive experiences like #seebotschat and Twitch Plays Pokemon. Yeah, we think it sounds cool too.

By Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman is a pop culture writer based in North Texas with work in The Dallas Morning News, GuideLive and He’s got a podcast on iTunes about creating superheroes from Wikipedia articles called Superhero Assembly Line, and enjoys spending most of his time reading comics, collecting records or playing games like Dark Cloud. Especially Dark Cloud.