Facebook launched a dedicated ‘Facebook Gaming’ app today (i.e., April 20). The Facebook Gaming app is initially available to Android users. iOS users will get access to the app once Apple says it a “Yes”, as suggested by reports.
Facebook had been testing this app with users in Southeast Asia and Latin America for close to 20 months now. However, Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, said 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.” She also said that the pandemic has motivated the company to speed up gaming projects. “We’re seeing a big rise in gaming during quarantine,” she added.
Recently, Facebook also added a dedicated ‘gaming’ tab inside its main app. It also gave a new feature that allows the users to hold a tournament with their friends on Facebook. They can also join tournaments organized by others as well.
The dedicated app features a four-tabbed navigation bar at the bottom. This houses the home, games, explore, and profile tabs. You can see posts and live streams on the home tab, you will be able to play online on the second “games” tab, discover new streamers and content creators on the third “explore” tab, and see the games or streamers you follow on the “profile” tab respectively. The app is primarily targeted at smartphone users who enjoy mobile gaming, and this app seeks to solve the streaming hassles that come with platforms such as Twitch.
So far, the app’s interface looks fairly polished, and there is a wide selection of PC and mobile games that you can add to your list of interests. However, the app currently doesn’t have many of the popular streaming faces that you’ll find on Twitch and YouTube.
Now, the bigger question is – Can Facebook Gaming overtake, say Twitch or YouTube? Well, we will have to wait and then come to a conclusion. But it is to be noted that the social media giant’s gaming section has seen a tremendous growth over the past year. And it definitely seems to be on the right track. It witnessed a close to 210% increase in hours of streams watched in the year till December 2019, as per a report from StreamElements. So, we can expect that the gaming community of Facebook users to flock to mobile game streams will increase in the coming weeks.