Social media giant Facebook today (April 20) launched a dedicated mobile gaming app that will take on game streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube.
Facebook Gaming primarily focuses on watching and creating live broadcasts of games, but will also include casual games to play, such as Words with friends – as well as some community functions, Facebook said The New York Times. One of its strengths is a “Go Live” feature that will allow users to broadcast their other mobile games, not just those offered on Facebook Gaming, through their Facebook page.
The app is currently only available on Android through the Google Play Store. Facebook Gaming is free to download and ad-free at the moment. An iOS deployment is expected soon, pending Apple approval.
Facebook Gaming is set to take on current heavyweights Twitch and YouTube, both of which currently dominate the game streaming market. As of December 2019, Twitch controlled 61% of live game broadcasts, while YouTube provided 28%. Facebook came in third with eight percent, according to The edge.
Facebook vice president for games Vivek Sharma said NYT that the company should focus on a mobile application for streaming, because the mobile experience is more intense than viewing on a desktop.
“We don’t want to be the background window in a Chrome tab while someone is doing homework or doing something else,” Sharma said. “With mobile, if you’ve opened the app and you’re using the app, it’s front and center. You can’t do anything else on your cell phone, and it’s extremely powerful.
According to NYT report, Facebook initially planned to launch the app in June and tested it in Southeast Asia and Latin America for the past 18 months, but has ramped up plans due to growing demand for games and streams. in the current climate of coronavirus pandemic.
Fiji Simo, responsible for the Facebook Gaming app, told 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. We are seeing a big increase in gambling during quarantine. “
In other news, a mobile version of Death by the light of day released on iOS and Android. Death by Daylight Mobile is free, but offers in-game purchases.