Microsoft rebrands Twitch competitor and adds mobile live streaming

Key Points
  • Microsoft is adding co-streaming to the new Mixer app.
  • Google's YouTube Gaming app has had mobile game streaming since 2015, and now Microsoft's competing app is getting that feature.
The co-streaming feature in Microsoft's Mixer app, which was previously known as Beam.

Microsoft on Thursday is announcing a new name for Beam, the live streaming app that it acquired last year. Mixer, as it will be called now, is getting features that are available from other apps people use to stream games and other content.

The rebrand comes three years after Amazon acquired Twitch.tv and almost two years after Google's YouTube launched the standalone YouTube Gaming app.

Microsoft will replace Beam for Android and iOS with the Mixer app, and Mixer will take the place of Beam on the Xbox One and in Windows 10.

Microsoft is making it possible for up to four people to simultaneously live stream themselves gaming or doing other things in Mixer. Viewers will see the screen divided up into four sections of all the people who are streaming.

Initially this "co-streaming" feature will be available on Xbox One, for people participating in its Insiders program, and in Windows 10. Later it will come to mobile devices. It's possible to watch multiple streamers at once on Twitch, although doing so involves using additional software.

Facebook earlier this week introduced a similar feature that lets you bring in a guest while live streaming.

Additionally, Microsoft is releasing new Mixer Create mobile apps that will let users stream live. Soon Microsoft will update that app so as to enable game streaming as well. YouTube Gaming has permitted mobile streaming since 2015.

Microsoft will show original programming and highlights from its users in a new always-on Channel One section of Mixer, too. Twitch provides some original programming.

Beam was the most popular game streaming app on Xbox One last month, Mike Nichols, CMO for Xbox at Microsoft, told CNBC in an interview. Microsoft has not talked about how many users Beam has. Twitch has nearly 10 million daily active users.