On a worldwide scale, it might be smaller than, say, Twitch and YouTube Gaming. But in markets in the developing world like ours, Facebook Gaming is growing by leaps and bounds.
Now, the social network is finally launching a standalone Facebook Gaming app on Android.
It was in closed beta in several countries in Southeast Asia (like Thailand) and Latin America over the past year and a half. In the Philippines, a country-exclusive gaming-focused Facebook app called fb.gg was launched way back in September 2018. Its interface is remarkably similar to the final screenshots of the new standalone app.
Now, the app seems to be ready for global primetime.
“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, to the New York Times.
While the app does have a few casual games, says the Times, it’s not focused on gaming per se, but rather the growing community of streamers in Facebook Gaming.
According to streaming software company StreamElements, there was a 210 percent increase in hours watched between December 2018 and December 2019 on the platform. With the coronavirus keeping everyone at home, that number certainly increased substantially in recent weeks — a fact, said the Times, that spurred Facebook to launch the app earlier than expected. (Here’s SPIN.ph’s list of FB Gaming streamers you should follow.)
Its main feature is a handy Go Live button, which will allow creators to quickly stream content to followers.
“People are watching streams and they’re like, ‘I want to be a streamer,’ and with Go Live it’s literally just a few clicks and then live, you’re a streamer,” said Vivek Sharma, Facebook’s head of gaming, to the Times.
An iOS version is currently in the works, the company also revealed.