There are two big names in game streaming: Twitch and YouTube, but get ready for a third to enter the market as Facebook is launching its own take on a game streaming service.
As The New York Times reports, Facebook this week launched Facebook Gaming as an Android app with an iOS app expected in the near future once Apple approves it. The Gaming app exists to allow gamers to livestream games they are playing, watch others doing the same, or to chat about games within the community. If the launch comes as a surprise, it’s because Facebook wasn’t planning to go live with it until June, but with so many people staying home, it made sense to launch now. According to Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook Gaming app, “We’re seeing a big rise in gaming during quarantine.”
Facebook is striving to make streaming content as easy as possible. With the app installed, users can access a feature called “Go Live,” which can stream games installed on the device “by pressing a few buttons.” The live stream automatically appears on the user’s Facebook page, meaning there’s no other software to install or accounts required.
As to why Facebook decided to focus on mobile for game streaming, Vivek Sharma, Facebook’s vice president for gaming, explained, “We don’t want to be the background window in a Chrome tab while someone is doing their homework or doing something else … With mobile, if you have the app open and you’re using the app, it’s in the foreground. You can’t do anything else on your mobile phone, and that is extremely powerful.”
The social network wouldn’t launch such a data-intensive service if it didn’t have a plan to generate money from it. However, there will be no ads in the Facebook Gaming app, at least not initially. Instead, Facebook intends to generate revenue through users sending “stars” to streamers, which cost money and Facebook will make a commission on.