Facebook’s dedicated streaming app is here. It might be a Twitch copycat. Basicallty, they joined Amazon’s Twitch, Google’s YouTube and Microsoft’s Mixer streaming services, and it’s been rushed out two months ahead of schedule to meet pandemic demands (or, perhaps, big tech’s need to do everything).
Facebook Gaming is a dedicated mobile app now launched widely on Android via the Google Play Store, and is expected to roll out on iOS soon – more on that later.
Just to acknowledge; Facebook has already been making efforts in gaming for years, and not just Farmville, but with live streaming inside Facebook itself at facebook.com/gaming.
Why an app you may ask?
- Facebook believes a dedicated app offers a fast path to being able to stream quickly. That’s the main plug for amateur-streamers looking to get their game on while streaming for the first time without needing a dedicated setup.
- “There are a lot of people who listen to music and say, ‘I can imagine myself being a musician,’” Vivek Sharma, Facebook’s vice president for gaming, told The New York Times. “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.”
- For those who just like to watch gamers play, Facebook thinks an app is better than a Chrome window on your phone, PC or tablet: “We don’t want to be the background window in a Chrome tab while someone is doing their homework or doing something else,” said Sharma.
- “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.”
- …which is true! But still not really a reason why I’d want to use it. Multi-tasking with Twitch, while you browse and meander through a day, is one of its best features.
- Money: It’s ad-free, with Facebook aiming for users to donate purchased “stars” to streamers. Facebook will take a cut of the purchase; I don’t know how much yet.
- Apple? It’s not on iOS yet and there’s a strong implication something is going on behind the scenes between Apple and Facebook on this one. The Times again: “Versions for iOS will be released once Apple approves them, Facebook said.”
- This may or may not surprise you, but you’ll need a Facebook account. That hasn’t always been the case with Facebook apps recently, but it is here.
- Where it might work: I mean, I don’t know anyone who would rather stream on Facebook than Twitch, given the relative coolness of each platform. I installed the app but that’s about all I can say for how much I’ll be using it.
- A big clue to who might, though, is where Facebook has been testing this app: Asia and Latin America, for 18-months already. And that’s where it could take off: lower-cost mobile devices offer the dominant way for people to get online. Facebook usage is high in these countries, and mobile gaming is the only way to play for many.
Did you download it yet?