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beam11Microsoft’s Xbox group announced Thursday that it has acquired Seattle-based interactive game streaming service Beam, bringing the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant into an arena dominated by Amazon’s Twitch.

Microsoft said in a blog post the deal will help make Xbox more social and interactive. Beam launched in January, with a goal of giving people watching gamers the ability to participate in the experience. Viewers can affect gameplay by presenting new challenges and quests using visual controls.

“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,” Chad Gibson, partner group program manager for Xbox wrote in the blog post. “This acquisition will help gamers enjoy the games they want, with the people they want, and on the devices they want.”

Matt Salsamendi, Co-Founder & CEO of Beam, wrote in a blog post not much will change for Beam users immediately, and he will continue to lead his team under Xbox’s engineering group. Salsamendi said Beam will continue to work on all games across numerous platforms, not just Xbox.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Beam CEO Matthew Salsamendi.
Beam CEO Matthew Salsamendi.

The deal will allow Beam to scale its service faster, add to its team, bolster its infrastructure and bring in more users. Salsamendi wrote that Beam has topped 100,000 users.

The gaming audience has exploded in recent years. Big eSports events take over arenas, and millions of viewers stream gaming content online. To cash in on this trend, Amazon acquired Twitch in 2014 for $970 million. It has been called the ESPN of the gaming industry, and it boasts more than 100 million unique viewers per month.

Beam was part of the most recent TechStars Seattle class. Fellow members Shyft, Reflect and Kepler have raised money since TechStars’ Seattle Demo Day in May.

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