Gaming is a $120 billion industry and a large chunk of that slice belongs to live video streaming services. While Twitch pioneers the idea of game-streaming, the YouTube Gaming network, along with Facebook Gaming and Microsoft Mixer have emerged as strong competitors.
Facebook Gaming became the latest game streaming platform to enter the fray after throwing its hat in the gaming niche in January 2018. The largest social media network is already making waves in the streaming ocean and is attracting a large chunk of audience. Facebook’s growth has been instrumental and it has been the fastest growing platform in regard to video game streaming.
What is Facebook Gaming?
Facebook Gaming is an online streaming network for gamers and viewers who want to share the joy and fun of gaming. Herein, viewers watch and root for top streamers playing the most popular gaming titles. As a user, you can join groups and engage with the community in more than one way. Use the Facebook Gaming app or access the stream from your device.
Watch: The watch section has new videos from the biggest streamers and publishers. Herein, you can stream videos live and access pre-loaded content made available by the publishers.
Play: You don’t just have to view, if you want, you can become an active member of the community by playing games. You don’t have to download any game, just open an app and start playing.
Connect: Facebook has dedicated gaming groups. You can become a part of any group that you can relate to and contribute to the greater good.
Why should you opt for Facebook Gaming?
Twitch no doubt has the biggest share in the game streaming market. However, Facebook in two years’ time has garnered 8.5% of the market share. In 2019 Facebook’s share was 3.1% which steadily rose to 8.5% within a year – the highest in the game streaming industry. Its 210% increase in viewership means that it attracts a million users with 100+ million hours of content watched.
Ever-growing streaming market
The gaming industry doesn’t just involve people buying games and playing them, there’s a large chunk of audience obsessed with watching other creators play. Not only do these people watch, but they also pay and support their favorite creators.
Level Up Program for Creators
It’s an initiative by Facebook, wherein live gamers get access to multiple revenue streams. This allows the creators to make more money as compared to YouTube and Twitch. The program is now referred to as ‘Facebook Stars’. As a creator, you must meet the basic criteria for the program which requires a minimum of 100 followers and 4 hours of streaming in the past two weeks. This target is not much of a hurdle as even new creators can make use of the Facebook groups to attract audiences.
Attracting key streamers
While Microsoft and Ninja collaboration received the most eyeballs, Facebook seems to be holding its own by signing up well-known streamers such as MelonieMac, MissesMae, StoneMountain64, and Darkness429. The majority of Facebook’s gaming community constitutes of younger audiences mainly due to gaming and lip-syncing tools.
Quality Selection Process – Partnership
Apart from the Level up program, Facebook puts a stamp on creators who are good at streaming and fit their community. There’s a long queue of creators wanting to get in the program. Thus, the selection is not that easy. And one reason why it’s so diligent is that the program provides access to stars and subscription features. Partnering is intense and each of the partners mentioned above was handpicked.
Facebook’s platform is quite similar to YouTube as it is based on a similar infrastructure. i.e. both these networks are based on the parent platform. Thus, in design-sense, there’s nothing unique that stands out as you’re already familiar with the user-interface. As soon as you visit the page, you’ll have a vertical dashboard on the left and streaming windows on the right. On the left there are four key options – Home, Browse Games, Browse Streamers and Clips and on the right, the entire window is occupied by the video player.
As you scroll down, the right-hand side carries the streaming information which encompasses categories such as Live Now, Top Weekly Clips, Suggested Games, Suggested Streamers, Recently Live, Watched By Your Friends.
On the left side, there’s an option to go live followed by a streamer dashboard button. Followed by suggestions on Facebook. When you click a particular gaming video, you’re taken to a new page, where there’s live streaming on the left and comment section on the right. Herein, you also get the option to send stars to the creators which are priced as follows – $1/60 stars which go up to $200/20,000 stars.
Unlike YouTube’s Gaming service which is well-diversified, Facebook’s Gaming feels haphazard. There’s no clear content diversification and at first, it’s hard to understand what’s happening on the screen. Sure, there are certain categorization based upon the titles such as ‘Fortnite’, ‘Age of Empires’, ‘Mobile Legends’, ‘Arena of Valor’ and ‘PUBG’, but these titles can be found on YouTube and on Twitch in a much-organized manner.
Wide-range of genres
As far as the content goes, there’s a game from almost all the genres including Adventure, Arcade, Action, Sports, Mystery, Simulation, Strategy, Racing, Role Playing, and even Trivia. There’s no dearth of content and anytime you log on to the service, you’ll have at least dozens of streamers active on the network.
Facebook Gaming is not just for live streaming alone, you can even access content from days ago. Thus, if you missed a certain stream, you can catch it up later if the creator has kept it available. Apart from that, there are hundreds and thousands of clips that you can access which highlights the gaming session of not just a particular streamer but an entire community.
For instance, in top weekly clips, you can watch creative videos such as ‘Fortnite: If it was a horror game’, ‘Castlevania: Rondo of Blood’, to name a few. There are dozens of categories under which you can find artistic content such as these.
Call for Exclusive titles in the future?
What’s lacking here is the exclusivity. I’m sure that these networks would work on tying certain developers and titles under exclusive rights. Think about it, if streamers can be lured, why not the companies that develop the game?
Facebook Gaming is designed to make streaming effortless on all your devices. Whether you stream from your desktop or from your phone, you get the best experience. Using fb.gg, you can directly access the hub. As soon as you visit the site, you’ll get two bars – Gaming Video and Instant Games.
Though I like gaming on the desktop, I don’t enjoy watching my favorite creators on the desktop. I don’t know why. Streaming Facebook Gaming on a desktop just doesn’t feel right for some reason. Thus, I try to use my Pixel 2 to watch live gaming and desktop to stream live.
The user interface on mobile is much better than on the desktop. Though it’s the same content, I feel that the responsive version on the mobile keeps me hooked as compared to the desktop. You can follow streamers easily and they’ll profile will appear as you scroll down. I streamed Dota, PUBG, FIFA 19 and eFootball 2020 from my mobile phone and I loved the experience.
Plans & Pricing
Facebook Gaming is free to use for both viewers and content creators. However, you can make use of in-app purchases or other features as a creator to lure more audience. On the other end, you can support your favorite creator using stars – a digital gift that acts as a donation.
Suggestions I have for Facebook Gaming
I certainly like Facebook Gaming but I do feel that there’s great room for improvement. Especially in terms of interface. It looks bland and confusing. The developers can do a lot more in making the service intriguing. It lacks the edge and doesn’t stand out from other platforms.
Facebook Gaming is a great platform for creators and viewers alike. You can follow people, enter groups and watch live streams of your favorite games played by your favorite gamers. You don’t have to pay any amount and thus you can consume content for free. I like the support the creator feature which empowers the streamers to improve their streams in more than one way.