Facebook is set to release the first version of its own live-streaming app for gaming today.
A new report from The New York Times explains that he new app, Facebook Gaming, is aimed at the 700 million monthly Facebook users who have engaged with the network’s game content. The app will have a big focus on streamers, whether you’re watching them or streaming content yourself, thanks to a “Go Live” feature that will make it easy to stream mobile games. It will also let you play Facebook games like Words with Friends and Uno through the app.
The app was originally planned for a June launch, but with a recent increase in gaming due to the coronavirus pandemic, Facebook is launching the new app earlier than originally planned. Facebook has lofty aspirations for the Gaming app, which enters a market dominated by the big two – Twitch and YouTube.
“Investing in gaming in general has become a priority for us because we see gaming as a form of entertainment that really connects people,” said Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook App at Facebook. “It’s entertainment that’s not just a form of passive consumption but entertainment that is interactive and brings people together.”
Facebook Gaming will be available for Android and iOS devices sometime today. Users will be able to live stream games from their phone with the Go Live feature, and they can also share their streams to their personal Facebook accounts. Facebook has reportedly been testing the app for at least 18 months in some parts of the world.
Facebook says it’s focusing mainly on mobile devices because of the attention it gets from a user when compared to a desktop experience.
“We don’t want to be the background window in a Chrome tab while someone is doing their homework or doing something else,” said Vivek Sharma, Facebook’s vice president for gaming. “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.”
More than 700 million Facebook users play games, watch gaming videos or post in gaming groups. Last year, the social media giant launched a gaming tab in the app’s navigation bar for people who spend time playing games, viewing gaming videos, or interacting in gaming groups.