Gamers will now be able to watch each other play Xbox and Windows games from anywhere in the world after Microsoft launched an app for Beam.
Beam, which allows people to livestream their games online as they play and lets viewers interact and play along, will be available on Xbox One, Windows 10 PC, iOS and Android.
The app will initially be available for anyone signed up to the Xbox Insider Program before it is rolled out in the spring.
Beam viewers will be able to browse, search and follow their favourite game streams, as well as earn Sparks and Experience Points (XP). Sparks is Beam’s in-app currency that viewers can use to interact with gamers, unlock new emotes, get XP boosters and more. For every minute viewers watch a stream, they earn two Sparks. XP, meanwhile, shows how much they’ve watched streams – for every five minutes watching a stream, they earn 10 XP.
Gamers can start live feeds quickly and easily through the Guide on Xbox One or the Game Bar on Windows 10 PCs.
Beam also announced that it has teamed up with Proper Productions – a group of eight YouTubers – who will stream games online in a regular slot.
The popularity of videogame streaming has exploded in recent years. Streaming video accounts for more than two-thirds of all internet traffic, and this is expected to climb to 82% by 2020, according to Cisco’s June 2016 Visual Networking Index report. Live mobile video is set to grow 39-fold from 2016 to 2021, and will represent 5% of total mobile video traffic within five years, Cisco added.
Microsoft bought Beam in August last year, and upgraded the service earlier this year to add streams with up to 1440p resolution at 60Hz and integration with Xbox Live.
To link an Xbox Live account to Beam, launch the app and you’ll be asked if you already have a Beam account. If you do, you’ll get a code to enter on the Beam website and it will automatically link both accounts. If you don’t already have a Beam account, your Xbox Live Gamertag will automatically become your Beam username.
For PC gamers on Windows 10, go to your account settings on Beam.pro and click “Link to your Microsoft Account”.