Facebook will launch the Facebook Gaming app on Monday as it looks to capitalize on the gaming industry’s current, coronavirus-induced boom
The app lets users watch and create gaming-focused live streams, and also includes some casual games. It’s set to compete with the Twitch of Amazon and Youtube of Google, both of which are major services in terms of live streaming games in the world now.
Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, told The New York Times that COVID-19’s emergence has led the company to accelerate its work on a number of gaming projects. “Investing in gaming, in general, has become a priority for us because we see gaming as a form of entertainment that really connects people,” she said, citing “a big rise in gaming during the quarantine.”
Though this is the first time Facebook has launched a proprietary app focused on game live streaming, Facebook Gaming is already the third-largest platform in terms of hours spent watching other people play games.
According to research by Streamlabs and Stream Hatchet, people spent over 500 million hours on Facebook watching other people play games in the first three months of 2020. This compares with over 1 billion hours spent on YouTube’s Gaming Live service and over 3 billion hours on Twitch. That is a lot of hours so it is a market that a lot of companies want to pursuit.