Facebook Gaming app launches today

Facebook on mobile in pocket

Facebook is now a multi-faceted beast, and the latest weapon in the social network's growing arsenal is a dedicated gaming app.

The company is launching Facebook Gaming today, providing users with an app to livestream game content. Reports says that the app will also include "casual games and access to gaming communities". Competing with Amazon's Twitch, Google's YouTube and Microsoft's Mixer, the app lands on Android today, and is also due on iOS pending approval from Apple.

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News of the release came via the New York Times over the weekend. The news outlet says that Facebook Gaming was original due for release in June, but because of the number of people self-isolating and in quarantine due to coronavirus, the company took the decision to bring the release forward.

Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, says:

Investing in gaming in general has become a priority for us because we see gaming as a form of entertainment that really connects people. It's entertainment that's not just a form of passive consumption but entertainment that is interactive and brings people together.

Facebook Gaming has been in testing in Southeast Asia and Latin America for around 18 months, and now it is felt to be ready for a wider release.

Facebook's vice president for gaming, Vivek Sharma, says: "There are a lot of people who listen to music and say, 'I can imagine myself being a musician'. 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".

He goes on to say:

We don't want to be the background window in a Chrome tab while someone is doing their homework or doing something else. With mobile, if you have the app open and you're using the app, it's in the foreground. You can't do anything else on your mobile phone, and that is extremely powerful.

At least to start with, there are no plans for in-app ads. Facebook will make money by taking a cut of donations sent to streamers by viewers.

Image credit: Anton Garin / Shutterstock

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