Microsoft splashes cash on video game streaming startup Beam

Lynsey Barber
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Live-streaming video games is becoming popular (Source: Getty)

Microsoft is getting in on the live games streaming action with its latest acquisition.

The tech giant – fresh from snapping up LinkedIn in a $26bn (£20.1bn) deal – has acquired Beam, a Seattle-based startup which live streams video games.

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It will be rolled into Microsoft's Xbox operations, and "supports our ongoing commitment to make Xbox Live more social and fun," the company said in a blog post.

We at Xbox are excited about this convergence between playing and watching, and want to provide gamers with the freedom and choice to have great multiplayer experiences across all of Beam's platforms. This acquisition will help gamers enjoy the games they want, with the people they want, and on the devices they want.

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

It's not the first time Microsoft has acquired its way into gaming. It bought up the hugely popular developer of Minecraft for $2.5bn in 2014.

Amazon started a trend for e-gaming in 2014 after it snapped up video game live streaming website Twitch for nearly $1bn.

Beam was founded at around the same time of that deal, and landed $420,000 in seed stage cash in February. It boasts more than 100,000 players in its community.

At the time it was bought, Twitch had millions of users and multi-millions of dollars in venture funding.

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Beam differs from Twitch in letting viewers interact with the gamers they are watching and it was crowned winner of the Battlefield competition at TechCrunch Disrupt NY earlier this year.

Co-founder and chief executive Matt Salsamendi will remain in charge of Beam at Xbox. He said: "As part of Xbox, we’ll be able to scale faster than we’ve ever been able to before. We’re expanding the team, bolstering our infrastructure, and most importantly, continuing to grow and support the amazing community at Beam."

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