Facebook is planning to launch a dedicated gaming app for people who already engage in online gaming. The app aims to challenge the already dominated live streaming market by going head-to-head with Twitch and YouTube.
The free app will first be available for Android as it is awaiting approval from iOS. Facebook gaming is designed to a large extent, for creating and watching live gameplay, according to The New York Times. It will also include access to casual games and gaming communities.
Facebook is capitalizing on the coronavirus pandemic to launch the app. The stay at home guidelines is causing a huge surge in gaming activity worldwide. Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, told The New York Times that the original plan was to launch the Gaming App in June 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. It’s entertainment that’s not just a form of passive consumption but entertainment that is interactive and brings people together,” she said.
Simo says the coronavirus pandemic made the company speed up its other gaming projects. One of the projects includes a new tournament feature, “we’re seeing a big rise in gaming during quarantine,” she said.
Facebook says over 700 million of its users already engage in gaming content, and it’s trying to feed into that figure.
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The streaming app works using a function called Go Live. Go Live allows users to upload streams of mobile games on the same device.
The user can then share the stream to someone’s personal page and Facebook hopes this will make it more accessible than rivals’ like Twitch which requires third-party platforms for the same feature.
No ads on Facebook’s gaming App
Facebook says its focus for the gaming app is on mobile devices because they provide a more intense experience than viewing on PCs.
The VP of gaming at Facebook, Vivek Sharma added:
“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.”
Facebook says there will be no advertising within the app for now. It will make money via viewers sending “stars,” representing money, to streamers, by the way of a commission. It says its focus is to build a gaming audience before including other ways to make money.
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