Facebook has been bidding to make its mark on the gaming industry for years, primarily by buying Oculus a few years ago, and then by launching Facebook Gaming in 2018. You’ve probably heard about the Oculus VR headsets before, but odds are that you didn’t even know that Facebook Gaming existed. Facebook Gaming is essentially Facebook’s bid to take its place with Twitch and Youtube as a streaming platform.
Safe to say that Facebook hasn’t been dominating the streaming world as perhaps they hoped to be, but this Monday, April 20th, they hope to change this by giving their streaming platform a dedicated home. Facebook is launching an app exclusively for gaming. It will have a few casual phone games on it, but mainly it focuses on streaming. The app will be ad-free, instead of relying on stars (basically bits from twitch) for revenue. In addition to watching streamers, the app allows you to go live directly from your phone while playing mobile games.
Not entirely sure who wants to watch you play Clash Of Clans and Raid: Shadow Legends for hours at a time, but hey, there are people interested in anything nowadays. Unfortunately, the app will only be available for Android at launch, as the iOS App Store restricts the publication of content from third-party apps. Facebook seems optimistic that Apple will eventually approve the service, but it may be quite sometime before the app comes out on iPhone.
This app is clearly a bid to improve streaming numbers as, though they have been poaching streamers from Twitch and Youtube, they are still struggling to grow by comparison.
Gaming specific apps don’t always work – Youtube did away with their gaming app last year after four years, but announcing it right now, especially when a lot of people have time to watch streams, could bring awareness to their service at the very least.