Game streaming coming to Windows 10, and bitstream coming to Xbox One

Microsoft logoMicrosoft's Windows Creator Update event included a brief segment about the company's game-specific updates. That Wednesday segment kicked off with an announcement that Windows will now come with live, online game-streaming capabilities built in.

These won't be powered by the popular game-streaming site Twitch, however, but by Beam, a very similar game-streaming service that Microsoft acquired in August. Instead of having to connect games to Beam's Web UI, PC gamers will be able to load the Windows "game bar" interface—which already exists in Windows 10 by pressing the Windows key and the G button—and pick a "Beam" streaming option.

Beam's Twitch-like functions are boosted by a stress on incredibly low latency, so viewers aren't buried behind a lengthy delay between when the action happens and when they see it. Beam also offers a gamification system that rewards viewers with "experience points," and these points can be spent on interface customizations and on placing votes for what a game streamer might do. Microsoft didn't unveil anything else about how its own games will more deeply link to the Beam interface and its voting system.

The announcement didn't clarify whether Beam will work with PC games outside of the "Xbox Play Anywhere" ecosystem, which includes Microsoft-published games like Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3. However, the existing Windows 10 game bar can already load within other games, including those loaded in services such as Steam and Origin. The bar can also do Windows-specific functions like take screenshots. Therefore, there's hope that Beam will cleanly work with many other Windows games in the same way.

In good news for Xbox One owners, Dolby Atmos X and bitstream audio are finally coming to both the original system and the updated Xbox One S model. However, we'll have to wait for the console's own Creator Update patch, since that date was not announced at the event. Thanks to the name, we can assume the patch will arrive around the same time as the similar update for Windows 10 at least.

Xbox Live's "custom tournament capabilities" are coming to Windows 10, as well, though these will require hard ties to the Xbox Live interface. That means this functionality will be limited to Xbox Play Anywhere titles like Killer Instinct and Forza Horizon 3. Also, the company's cursory mentions of e-sports popularity wasn't met with any explanation of how Beam or the Xbox Live interface would be used to help users create or host streamed tournaments.

Today's Windows 10 event is still in progress, and we'll update this post should any new information become available. In the meantime, you can follow along with all the news in our liveblog.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Microsoft, OSes, Windows 10

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