Currently the gaming community has been using Twitch and YouTube as their go to live streaming platforms. Both the platforms have a big viewer and streamer base and are undoubtedly very successful. However, this is about to change, as now the social media giant Facebook has set its eye on the game streaming community as their next customer target. Facebook has released their own mobile app for the purpose of live streaming and viewing games.
The current bosses
Currently the data suggests that Twitch is the real boss with over 61% of the total online hours that the streaming community has spent streaming, whereas YouTube also does good while covering 28% of the total hours. This is the estimated report from data collected near the end of the year 2019. Twitch rivals YouTube for now whereas Facebook is yet to stand up to them statistically.
Looking at the numbers we can expect Facebook to have a real tough fight, and can expect it to try some real catchy marketing strategies that get the people to try out and use the app.
“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.” says Fidji Simo who is the head of the FB app.
What we know about the app
Initially the app was released only for mobile and that too for android devices. Facebook has said that they will release one for the IOS devices too as soon as they get the necessary permissions and approvals from Apple.
The app has a one-press button “Go Live” to straight away go live without much hassle. This can make it easier and accessible to more people who do not understand or like multiple steps that can be complicated when trying to go live. This can give Facebook a stance to compete with the already dominating competitors.
The app allows people to monetise the streams using a “level up” option in the app. This might work as it sounds, that the players can stream either when they level up to some level or they unlock this feature.
The app was planned to be released in June, but was instead launched in April, nearly a month earlier on Google Play.
“It’s entertainment that’s not just a form of passive consumption but entertainment that is interactive and brings people together.” also said Simo to the New York Times about the gaming app.
Facebook Gaming App
The app has features such as a discover feature wherein one can find out what people are playing nowadays, the latest games and popular streams and such. They can discover what the people they are following are up to related to gaming and more. The interface of the app is also easy to use and quite similar to the Facebook App that we all know and use.
The other thing that one can do is utilise the socialising aspect of the Facebook community on the Facebook Gaming App as well. You can become a creator yourself and stream or join other communities or do both. You can play the in-app games solo or with your friends and enjoy.
Facebook has had a history of acquiring other social media platforms as well as expanding their horizon when it comes to competing with their parallel competitors as well as unrelated ones. Facebook adding features similar to snapchat in their Instagram app, or adding the reels feature to compete with TikTok are the perfect examples for it. Since the time streaming became a popular phenomenon, Facebook has been planning to acquire the market there as well. Facebook gas a huge user base but that does not mean it can outright defeat the current bosses. It will have to strategize and slowly attract the people from the other platforms as well as generate new streamers from their own user base as well.
Facebook has a huge ray of hope in this segment if we go by the data collected in December 2019. Gaming on Facebook has been there for years now, and during the year 2018 to 2019 it saw a huge jump of 210 percent increase in the number of hours that were spent playing Facebook games. “By adding Ronda Rousey, a very mainstream celebrity whose into gaming, to their roster, it’s another great move since content is king, but you need a kingdom to make it matter.”
I want to be a streamer
The app allows people to not just stream the in-app game but upload streams of other games on their account. They can live stream those outside games as well. Their friends and family and other people can see the streams, and can know how much fun it is and end up saying “I want to be a streamer”
“People are watching streams and they’re like, ‘I want to be a streamer,’ and with Go Live it’s literally just a few clicks and then live, you’re a streamer,” was said by the vice president for Facebook Gaming.
The market is booming and there is a lot of opportunity for Facebook to explore. Newer tools might come in, interface might change, new games and what not to expect. Monetizing is a lucrative feature on the app that is also beneficial to those who plan to make their career in gaming. Till now streamers were earning through YouTube and Twitch using several in-app ways and now they will be able to do the same on Facebook Gaming too.
Therefore, Facebook Gaming already has more than 10 million plus downloads as of mid 2021 and is expected to grow more and more. Although compared to the 2.5 billion plus user base of the Facebook community with around 5 billion plus downloads on Google Play, 10 million seems low, it is still a great leap in its discourse. The app is doing great considering it was released just nearly a year ago considering Twitch was released in 2011 and had around 30 million Twitch downloads in 2016 and now was a 100 million plus download on Google Play.
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