The user interface of the new Facebook Gaming app is horrible

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After an 18-month beta in Southeast Asia and Latin America, the Facebook Game application released in the US today on Android. FB Gaming is creating a hub for video game content on the social network in an apparent attempt to form a rival to Twitch.

Facebook Gaming seems like a good idea. The app enables Facebook to better leverage user-created video game content by centralizing it away from its increasingly polarizing core product. Facebook is the third largest game streaming site in terms of hours viewed (I wouldn’t have guessed that), but lags significantly behind its competition in terms of streaming hours and unique game channels.

It’s a smart move to give creators a hub where their content will take center stage and likely make the platform more engaging. It’s getting harder and harder to break into Twitch and YouTube, so Facebook could be the go-to destination for those trying to make big streaming games. At least, that might be the case if the user interface of the Facebook Gaming app wasn’t a total disaster.

The Twitch app lets you access a live stream with just one tap on launch.

The Twitch app on Android has a simple interface. Open it and you’ll see all the channels you’ve subscribed to or followed at the top if they’re streaming. This allows for easy access to the content that you are most likely to watch quickly. Right under your favorite streamers, you get recommended ones. Head over to the Discover tab and you’ll get a ton of feeds that Twitch’s algorithms think you might like. If you don’t want an AI telling you what to watch, the Browse tab places every stream on Twitch in an easy-to-search format. No matter which tab you’re on, one click takes you to a feed, which is crucial.

Facebook Gaming, on the other hand, makes finding content extremely confusing. It follows the Facebook Watch format, which means streams, clips, and VODs are all mixed up on the first tab. I found that this custom feed prioritizes accounts that are currently playing, but it makes it difficult to find new content, which is what a new platform needs to survive.

Facebook application user interface 1 The Facebook Gaming app landing page is a confusing stream of posts, streams, VODs, and clips.

To find new streamers, you don’t follow on the Facebook Gaming app; you need to click on the ice cream cone icon (I’m not sure what that icon means). From there, you can get Suggested Streamers, Current Streams, Recommended Games, and Suggested Gamegroups. However, you only get a small number of recommendations and the information does not display smoothly. If you just want to see live streams then you have to tap on “Video Streams & Clips” and finally you will get a section which will let you discover new streamers in a reliable way. However, if you want to check the streams for a particular game, you need to hit “Games”, find the game you want to watch (there is no search function in this section that I was able to see. ), then you get a mix of clips, on-demand videos, and live streams.

FB 2 application user interface To find new creators or live broadcasts of a particular game, you have to navigate through several poorly laid out sections.

The user interface of the Facebook Gaming app is horrible. It’s basically a new platform that populates the accounts you’ve been following with your main FB account. This is great if you are a heavy Facebook user, but if you don’t already follow game related accounts, this app makes finding interesting content incredibly frustrating. Facebook can’t rely on its mind-boggling three-minute Watch video format if it wants to be a serious competitor to Twitch. People watch game streams in hourly increments or more, and they want to find creators who keep them entertained and can relate to, which is nearly impossible in the FB Gaming app.

Like the old Facebook products (and Facebook itself in many ways), Facebook Gaming doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. It mainly works as a games-centric extension of the Facebook app with the same features and design. However, FB seems to want this app to be a serious competitor to Twitch, and at the same time, they’ve included their library of casual games as well. It looks like they are trying to force their way into the streaming market by converting their large user base using this new platform. However, we’ve seen this tactic fail with the demise of YouTube Gaming before, and Mixer has shown that you can’t market yourself even with a much more user-friendly platform than FB offers.


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