- Facebook launched a service to attract gamers who stream their game play online for others to watch, similar to Amazon's Twitch platform. Fb.gg, which borrows its initials from the post-game courtesy of saying "good game," serves as a hub of all the video games streaming on Facebook and lets users follow esports celebrities, competitions and gaming conferences, according to TechCrunch.
- Facebook also plans to introduce a service for star gamers to build an audience on its platform and earn money from tips, the company announced in a blog post. The Level Up Program will be available in the next few months, though the social giant has begun to let a handful of creators let fans subscribe to their channels for $5 a month, per Variety.
- The new features will let fans support their favorite gaming content creators by buying and sending virtual goods during livestreams with digital currency Facebook Stars. The currency allows content creators to earn real cash as Facebook pays $0.01 for each Star a streamer receives from fans, Variety reported. Facebook will collect a fee ranging from 5% to 30% from viewer purchases of Star packs, taking a smaller cut when users buy bigger packs.
With the E3 conference opening this week, Facebook seeks to highlight the ways its social platform will support creators of gaming content to keep users engaged on its social network instead of fleeing to Twitch or YouTube. A dedicated gaming hub is also another way for Facebook to appeal to marketers looking to reach consumers interested in gaming. Brands who have been ramping up their efforts on Twitch now have another option.
The social giant quietly debuted Facebook Gaming in the past few weeks to aggregate live and prerecorded video in one place. By providing a dedicated place for gaming fans to see gaming content, Facebook can also help to declutter its News Feed and keep it focused on posts from friends and family.
Facebook is playing catchup to platforms like Twitch, which has an average of more than 15 million active daily viewers and over 2 million unique monthly broadcasters, per Variety. YouTube has a similar creator program and hub, YouTube Gaming, for game broadcasters. However, Facebook has a key advantage in having personal information of its audience of 2.2 billion users. With that data, the company can promote the gaming video service to people who express an interest in video gaming or who fit a certain demographic profile, like young teens who have "liked" or shared gaming-related Pages or posts. This comes as Facebook seeks ways to develop additional ways to appeal to teens who are moving to apps like Instagram or Snapchat to socialize.
Video gaming is a huge industry that also has made stars out of skilled gamers and social influencers who share their commentary about strategy and reactions to online games. Consumer spending on video games is forecast to increase 13% to $137.9 billion globally this year, with mobile games growing even faster at 26% to $70.3 billion, a Newzoo study found. More than half of game revenues will come from the mobile segment for the first time, pointing to the potentially lucrative bet Facebook is making.