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Xbox Live gets more social with Microsoft's Beam buy

The live-streaming gaming service enables real-time participation by viewers.

Beam allows you to watch your favorite gamer and participate in gameplay.
Screenshot by Josh Goldman/CNET

Microsoft is betting a Seattle-based startup can make Xbox Live more social and fun.

Beam, which launched in January, is a live-stream game service that lets viewers participate in gameplay instead of just watching and chatting.

In a post Thursday on Microsoft's official blog, Xbox Live Program Manager Chad Gibson used Minecraft as an example. He explained Beam would allow you to not only watch your favorite gamers play, but give them new challenges and make real-time choices such as tool selection that could change gameplay.

"This acquisition will help gamers enjoy the games they want, with the people they want, and on the devices they want," Gibson said.

Beam currently has more than 100,000 users.