The new Facebook Gaming app is already available on Android, a few months before its planned release in June. The social media giant released the app two months before its planned unveiling in the midst of a global pandemic that has left people around the world isolated at home, burning fast with entertainment options.
The new Facebook Gaming app already available on Android
The New York Times announced the upcoming exclusive release over the weekend, noting that Facebook’s massive investment in games has resulted in more than 700 million of the 2.5 billion site users signing up actively in games via the platform every month. Launching a dedicated app is a clear next step for content that, until now, has been the domain of the Games tab on the site.
Social engagement is at the heart of the app (of course), which will get an iOS version at some point in the near future (awaiting approval from Apple). « This is entertainment that is not just a form of passive consumption, but interactive entertainment that brings people together, » said Fiji Simo, the app manager, before adding: « We are witnessing a strong increase in games during quarantine. «
Twitch and YouTube are among the biggest competitors for the app’s Go Live streaming feature. Facebook already has a massive platform in its own live offer, which is currently experiencing high levels of usage as isolated users seek some form of human connection during the shutdown of COVID-19. With Go Live, users can share game streams directly on their Facebook page.
Live streaming is the feature highlighted when launching the app, while a second tab offers discovery of the game both through your friends’ activities and a breakdown by category. A final tab features a chat platform.
The arrival of the application comes after a year and a half of testing in various markets, especially in Latin America and Southeast Asia. The game launches without ad support, although Facebook has told The Times it plans to monetize by taking commissions from the « stars » – the gifts viewers send to streamers.
It remains to be seen how the Twitch / YouTube method will translate to a platform traditionally more focused on casual game titles like Words With Friends. Not all of the service’s attempts to derive functionality as dedicated apps have been successful, but the rushed schedule could give the service an extra boost as users search for new forms of content and socialize during a global stop.