Facebook’s efforts to expand its presence in the gaming market continue on.
Facebook launched its Facebook Gaming streaming app. The app allows users to watch streamers on the platform, stream live gameplay themselves, and even play games with friends. Facebook Gaming was initially set to launch in June but with the ongoing global situation, more people were given time to stay at home and play their favorite games.
The app is available on Google Play for Android users and has over five million downloads. Its iOS version is currently pending approval from Apple.
📣 Launch announcement 📣🧵
1/ We know you’ve waited patiently. Well folks the day has come: we’re launching FarmVille in VR! j/k, sorry, kind mobs of Twitter, don’t @ us! We’re actually launching the Facebook Gaming app on Google Play.
— Facebook Gaming #playaparttogether (@FacebookGaming) April 20, 2020
“Investing in gaming, in general, has become a priority for us because we see gaming as a form of entertainment that really connects people,” Facebook’s App head Fidji Simo said in a statement.
Facebook Gaming comes with the “Go Live” feature. It lets users broadcast their live gameplay without the need for third-party software. Its interface resembles that of the Facebook App and features instant games that can be played and broadcasted at any time. Users can also see what their friends are playing.
Facebook has been trying to establish itself in gaming and esports for years now, but has expanded those efforts over recent months. The company recently launched Facebook Tournaments, which allows users to organize online tournaments using the platform.
Surprisingly, Facebook Gaming will not include ads as of now. It currently relies on “stars” from viewers which is similar to Twitch’s “bits”. The company has been testing the Facebook Gaming app in southeast Asia and Latin America for the past 18 months.
Facebook was once a top gaming platform during the Farmville era, but things have changed for the worse over recent years. Twitch has an airtight grasp on live streaming while YouTube currently dominates video sharing, with little room available competitors.
Facebook has tried to remedy this, but there’s still a significant gap between Facebook and its competitors in terms of viewing time for live gaming content. Twitch has recorded 3.1 billion hours while YouTube clocked 1.1 billion hours. Facebook only logged 554 million hours in the first quarter of 2020.
With the launch of Facebook Gaming globally, the firm aims to bridge the gap.