There is no doubt that Twitch has been a juggernaut in the live streaming service for the past few years. In recent times, however, Facebook has been attempting to take a piece of the live streaming pie. In a recent announcement, Facebook has announced incentives for gaming live streamers to use their service over Twitch, but it has not been an easy path for the service.
In the recent Facebook announcement, the social media company revealed the gaming creator pilot program, which aims to provide a concerted effort towards gaming-oriented live streamers. With the gaming creator pilot, Facebook hopes to better suit streamers’ needs by help build communities, create new tools for live-streamed games, and utilize other Facebook programs such as Instagram and Oculus. The company states that it is “actively exploring ways for fans to back their favorite gaming creators via payments during select live streams on Facebook.com.” With this program, Facebook is attempting to rival Twitch’s partnership program, which provides tools to popular streamers, such as monthly subscriptions, subscriber-only chat mode, and custom chat emotes for viewers to use. Facebook also claims that it will start bringing in dozens of creators into the program as early as tomorrow, and will have “unspecified plans to open it up even further in the future.”
Although this push is huge, this is not the first time Facebook has tried incentivising streamers to use their service. In 2016, Facebook made a deal with Blizzard that allowed the company to live stream all Blizzard games on their service. In addition, there has been expansion into esports territory, with the social media company inching into Dota 2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive competitive play with an ESL One deal. Despite this huge deal, it has not gone without controversy.
Recently, ESL One issued DMCA takedowns against users broadcasting streams related to Dota 2 ESL One content. These takedowns were met with massive backlash, and Valve even had to get involved. In this case, Valve sided with the fans, stating that “No one besides Valve is allowed to send DMCA notices for games streamed off of DotaTV that aren’t using the broadcasters’ unique content (camera movements, voice, etc).” In addition, Valve insists that they “designed the DotaTV guidelines to be flexible in order to allow for up and coming casters, or community figures […] that occasionally watch tournament games on their channel, to be able to stream off of DotaTV. It is not to allow commercial organizations […] to compete with the primary stream.”
Despite this controversy, Facebook hopes to pave the way for something to rival the might of Twitch. Whether or not this succeeds depends on how well received the upcoming Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 tournaments pan out along with the gaming creator pilot.