Facebook is taking a deeper dive into the gaming realm.
Facebook launched a new dedicated mobile app called Facebook Gaming on Monday, where people will be able to create and watch live gameplay. With this move, Facebook is angling to take on the likes of Amazon's Twitch, Microsoft's Mixer, and Google's YouTube.
The original release date for the app was set for June, but with the coronavirus pandemic forcing people to stay in their homes and create their own entertainment, Facebook made the move to release it early. The app had been in testing in Southeast Asia and Latin America for the past 18 months prior to its wide release.
“Investing in gaming in general has become a priority for us because we see gaming as a form of entertainment that really connects people,” Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, told the New York Times. “It’s entertainment that’s not just a form of passive consumption but entertainment that is interactive and brings people together.”
Facebook Gaming also features a “Go Live” function, which will allow users to livestream mobile games directly from their smartphone to Facebook, eliminating the need for dedicated third-party software and hardware typically required for streaming on other platforms. Currently, the app doesn't include apps and monetization is limited, although there is a "Level Up" program that will eventually allow for creators to earn money with "stars" that let fans make one-time payments.
Facebook Gaming is currently available on the Google Play app store, with an iOS version in the works for a later date.
When it comes to live video broadcasts, Facebook lags behind Twitch and YouTube. Research from Streamlabs and Stream Hatchet show that, so far in 2020, Facebook's game streaming platform clocked almost 554 million hours of viewing time compared to the 1.1 billion hours for YouTube and 3.1 billion hours for Twitch.
Have you tried Facebook Gaming yet? Let us know what you think in the comments.