Facebook has launched a new page specifically to attract video game streamers and viewers. In a world where Twitch, Mixer, and YouTube Gaming are already fighting for dominance on that market, Facebook would have to make up a lot of ground to be in the running.
What it is: Facebook is building its own dedicated gaming dashboard called fb.gg, which gives game streamers their own page and access to a program which helps them monetize their content. If streamers join the Level Up program — which sounds a lot like Twitch’s affiliate program — they’ll have access to early release of new features. Their viewers will also be able to send them virtual currency as tips.
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If you visit the page, you’ll see Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds have the most streams and viewers at the moment — no surprises there. It’s a simplistic layout, with options for finding streams by game, or to follow suggested streamers and little else. According to Facebook’s press release, it’s a starter page with more stuff to be filled in later.
Why it matters: The obvious question when you see this (at least in my case) is “Why?” Why is Facebook trying to branch into territory currently dominated by Twitch and, to a lesser extent, YouTube and Mixer?
Ordinarily, I’d answer that it’s just Facebook being Facebook, trying to stick its cobalt-blue finger in every pie. But if its history with Snapchat is anything to go by, Facebook isn’t shy about trying to capitalize on what’s popular with teenagers — and Fortnite is currently cleaning house and then some.
With reports currently circulating that teens have vastly lost interest in Facebook — it’s trailing Snapchat and YouTube by a massive margin — Facebook needs to do something to try and reel back in that audience. Given a recent poll published by the Washington Post suggests the majority of teenagers watch esports at least casually, it makes sense those are the streamers Facebook would cater to the hardest.