Update: The Information’s initial report was incorrect, and has since been changed. Super Evil Megacorp is not in talks with Facebook as it currently has an exclusive agreement with Twitch.
E-sports are ever-increasingly popular. As a result, it’s hardly a surprise that Facebook is looking at ways to capture a slice of this particular pie from Twitch, YouTube, and Microsoft.
According to The Information, Facebook is in talks with the developer of the immensely popular mobile game VainGlory to stream professional competitions. Kristian Segerstrale, COO of Super Evil Megacorp, was eager to stress that no deal is imminent.
This wouldn’t be Facebook’s first foray into the e-sports game. It currently has an arrangement with Blizzard to stream games through Facebook Live.
It has also hired a number of e-sports experts, including former professional gamer Stephen “snoopeh” Ellis, in order to manage partnerships with e-sports companies.
It’s obvious why Facebook is desperate to increase its reach in this market. According to e-sports research firm Newzoo, the entire market will reach $493 million in revenue this year. This is a market with huge potential for growth and diversification, as it becomes even more mainstream.
The Information notes that if Facebook is to register on the e-sports radar, it will have to demonstrate to franchises, developers, and players that it’s financially worthwhile. It has experimented with mid-stream advertisements, which ran during live games. There are also rumblings that it will also introduce tipping, where viewers donate to individual players.
Facebook will also have to demonstrate that it can draw viewers. Despite being the largest social network, its experiment with Blizzard only drew 490,000 viewers in August. In contrast, 36 million unique viewers watched the finals of “League of Legends” last year.