One of the most exciting pieces of news for the gaming community this year was the introduction of Facebook Gaming, a FB standalone app that offers new opportunities in the world of video gaming and streaming.
Facebook Gaming enters a sector that’s already dominated by Amazon’s Twitch with YouTube Gaming as a close third. The online casino sector is currently led by the Slots Play Casinos brand. But now Facebook has rolled out a strong platform and observers believe that, while it won’t dominate the market anytime soon, it will soon be giving the other platforms a run for their money.
The evolution of esports – online competitive video gaming – now centers around live streaming where players live stream their games on streaming platforms.
Anyone can live stream an event – you can live-stream a YouTube or Facebook video with a simple click of the “Live” button on the platforms’ sites.
But live-streaming video games is a little different. It involves streaming the action that’s taking place on your computer/console stream, as opposed to videoing an event that’s happening in front of your mobile camera.
Gamers live stream their games because that’s the way that they draw viewers and followers. Their visibility is further heightened by their interactions with their fans – through chats and other media.
Sometimes viewers collaborate, subscribe to the gamer’s channel, donate to the gamer to further his ability to play more, etc.
Facebook Gaming started in 2018 as FB.gg, a dedicated, independent hub where live streamers could start live streams and aficionados could find streams. A tab within the main Facebook app was added so that Facebook users could more easily access the gaming content.
In 2020 the company launched a dedicated mobile app so that Facebook Gaming, like Facebook Messenger, could operate as a standalone app and wouldn’t require the user to go into the app through a Facebook profile.
The game streaming hub was launched to make it easier for viewers to follow gaming content and to draw streamers into to broadcasting their streams on the Facebook platform.
At Facebook Gaming, live and prerecorded gaming videos are aggregated. While gamers can live stream on Facebook Live, Facebook Gaming focuses exclusively on game streams.
Once a user clicks into Facebook Gaming s/he can explore relevant gaming content to find the content that s/he prefers, find content in languages other than his/her own and toggle between playing and watching games via the Instant Games tab on the mobile gaming hub version.
On its website, Facebook explained its hub, saying, “People will be able to discover gaming video on our new destination based on creators and games they follow, Pages they like and Groups they belong to. We’ll also feature creators, esports competitions and content from gaming industry events on FB.gg.”
Facebook provides detailed instructions for both streamers and viewers. Finding streams and interacting on the platform is fairly intuitive.
If you’re looking for games that you want to follow you can do a search using the name of the game or you can find streams by category and then find suggestions for identifying streamers. There are other categories as well which include streamers whose content you’ve viewed in the past, streams watched by your FB friends, recent live streams, etc.
The “browse all games” section helps you find content that you want to follow or you can search for “browse streamers” to find specific streamers, including those who already have a large number of Facebook Gaming followers.
“Suggested” streamers who are streaming live appear along the left side of the page.
There’s a “tournaments” section where gamers can create and organize tournaments and games and viewers can find live-streaming tournaments or planned tournaments.
If you want to play yourself you can click into a free game like Uno, Bubble Shooter or Words with Friends and play.
Facebook created Facebook Games to make money which they accomplish by facilitating money-making opportunities for their streamers.
Streamers can monetize their gameplay streams through their Level Up program. To be eligible for Level Up, the streamer has to have at least 100 followers on his/her page and stream content for at least 2 days with a total of at least 4 hours over a 14 day period.
When the gamer has met those criteria s/he can apply to the Level Up program which gives him/her the opportunity to monetize the stream.
When that happens, viewers can send Facebook Stars with each star being worth $0.01 to you. Your followers can also send you animated, virtual gifts, each with its own Star values.
Facebook has also added a Facebook mobile gaming app to enable enthusiasts to more easily play casual games, connect with other gamers via chats and discover content.
Basically, everything that you wanted to do from your PC (including basic streams), you can now do on mobile.
Currently, the mobile Facebook app is just on Android but it should be available for iOS devices soon.
Observers note that Facebook Gaming is still a small platform but suggest that streamers explore it as a good way to get started in building a following.
One of the main reasons is that there’s less competition on the Facebook platform which means that there’s a higher chance that a new streamer will get noticed.
Those creators who migrated from YouTube and Twitch have also not yet built a big following so new streamers have more of an opportunity to get viewers.
It also seems to be easier to get discovered on Facebook because Facebook Gaming is part of the Facebook social media ecosystem. It’s the platform that has the highest overall number of users so there are more viewers who might come across a new streamer’s content.
Facebook also promotes streams – to people on your friends list, people who follow the game that you’re playing, people who follow you personally, etc. For a new streamer, that’s a huge pool of potential viewers.
Facebook’s community factor is a huge plus for gamers who want to develop their own communities. Facebook Gaming is definitely THE streaming platform to watch in 2021.