Microsoft recently rebranded their social video game streaming service Beam as Mixer. As a first-party Microsoft service, Mixer boasts features that directly benefit Microsoft like Sea of Thieves whose developer Rare had direct input on Mixer's joint, 4-screen split streaming with a centralized chat room. However, it was actally Rare that requested the feature in the first place on account of how their newest game, Sea of Thieves, plays and specifically how it should look when played on a social stream.
"We've done a ton of work with the Mixer team," Rare Studio Head Craig Duncan told USgamer in a Sea of Thieves preview. "We did our first live co-stream after E3, which was four players kinda playing together. Very, very early on we said, 'Hey we'd love to do something where not only one person could stream, but if we were in a crew, all four crew members could stream."'
Hence Mixer's split-screen streaming capability. When we asked how long Sea of Thieves' social necessities were being workshopped with the Mixer team, Duncan said that Rare and Mixer has "been working together from the very, very start."
Sea of Thieves is a co-op pirate game where each player fills a pivotal role in a pirate ship crew. Much of the game is completely built around working together, whether it's manning a pirate ship together, or working together to pinpoint the secret location of buried treasure.
Obviously it makes sense that Microsoft would have their first party video game talents work in synergy. Bill Giese, creative director for Forza Motorsport 7, also explained how the Forza team worked with the Mixer team for Forza's own streaming needs. "We were excited when [Mixer] first got purchased. Microsoft's a big company and being able to bring them on, show them the things we were doing... like most of the other Microsoft teams, we gave them a wishlist, they gave us a wishlist."
So the next time you use Mixer's splitscreen streaming mode be sure to thank Rare, and check back later where we'll have a more in-depth interview about Sea of Thieve's big social ambitions.