Facebook pilots streaming platform for gamers
Facebook joins YouTube in taking on gaming streamer Twitch.
Facebook Live opened up a portal to the world of online gaming for viewers everywhere, and now the dominant social platform is leveling up to compete with rivals Twitch and YouTube.
Facebook just announced its Facebook Gaming pilot program for video game livestreamers, offering a suite of tools to make it easy to stream 1080-pixel, 60-frames-per-second gaming videos on Facebook, Instagram and Oculus virtual reality. Facebook is also developing a way for fans to financially support their favorite video creators.
“Livestreaming and watching others play games is a worldwide phenomena,” Facebook’s Leo Olebe wrote in announcing the pilot. “And when you combine the massive global community of gamers on Facebook with the community-first format that gaming creators know how to cultivate, we together can shape a creator-first ecosystem on Facebook.”
Facebook has a long way to go, though. Its 1,500 streamers trail Twitch (27,000), YouTube Gaming Live (7,000) and Microsoft Mixer (1,700), while its 27,500-viewer audience is behind Twitch (788,000), YouTube (308,000) and Periscope (80,000), according to the latest quarterly report from Streamlabs.
Nevertheless, it’s catching up. In the fourth quarter of 2017, Facebook’s streamer growth surged 62%, outpacing Twitch and YouTube’s roughly 10% growth, but the incumbents have impressive yearlong growth stats of 197% and 343%, respectively.
Streaming in general has been skyrocketing in recent months, and gaming is one of its hottest niches. Streamlabs expects the rest of the livestreaming industry to follow in the footsteps of gamers, and 2018 could be the year e-sports and livestreaming break the $1 billion threshold.
The industry will no doubt get an imminent boost from the debut of virtual reality streaming of some of the most anticipated Winter Olympics events. Read more about the NBC and Intel VR streaming initiative in our news coverage, and check out some of the best virtual reality hardware deals online.