Facebook are making a fresh push for gaming today with the launch of a new Facebook Gaming mobile app to rival video game streaming platforms Twitch, YouTube and Mixer.
The app will be available today for Android and is awaiting approval on iOS, and will see the social network try to leverage the direct access they have to their audience to push the new service.
The app will focus on mobile gaming, using the Go Live function that lets users upload streams of mobile games on the same device, those will then appear directly on personal Facebook pages and without the complications of setting up apps like Streamlabs on PC for Twitch streams. Facebook hopes that this will be a more appealing and accessible set up for both streamers and viewers, especially when mobile gaming now includes core games like of Fortnite and Call of Duty: Mobile.
Head of the Facebook app Fidji Simo told the NYT, “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.”
Facebook claims that around 700 million of its 2.5 billion monthly users engage with gaming content, making this app a natural new arena for the company to explore. The app was planned for release in June, but with the coronavirus pandemic seeing an increase in gaming to pass the time, they’ve brought the release forward. Future plans could include a new tournament feature, with all gaming related projects accelerated by the pandemic.
The company’s VP of gaming, Vivek Sharma, also explained that they want to have a more intense and active engagement from the streams. “We don’t want to be the background window in a Chrome tab while someone is doing their homework or doing something else,” he said. “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.”
I guess he’s never seen someone prop up a tablet or phone while they do something else…