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Facebook to launch new gaming app on 20 April

Facebook will launch a new mobile app on Monday 20 April called Facebook Gaming. It is designed to let gamers create and watch live gameplay and will be positioned as a rival service to Twitch and YouTube, services owned by Amazon and Google respectively.

Facebook revealed its plans to the New York Times. Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, said:

“Investing in gaming in general has become a priority for us because we see gaming as a form of entertainment that really connects people. It’s entertainment that’s not just a form of passive consumption but entertainment that is interactive and brings people together.”

The report says that Facebook intended to release the app in June but brought the release forward to better serve gamers during the coronavirus pandemic.

After testing in Southeast Asia and Latin America, Facebook will launch Facebook Gaming on Android first, and iOS versions will follow ‘once Apple approves them’. 

Gamers can currently stream in the Gaming section of Facebook’s existing main app, but the report says it is comfortably third in popularity behind Twitch and YouTube. Facebook hope the G Live feature of Facebook Gaming will encourage people on mobile devices to live stream their games via an easy process.

The attraction then, it hopes, will be that people post their streams to their Facebook accounts as both an easy way to share their gameplay and also to help popularise the service.

Vivek Sharma, Facebook’s vice president for gaming commented that “People are watching streams and they’re like, ‘I want to be a streamer,’ and with Go Live it’s literally just a few clicks and then live, you’re a streamer.”

“We don’t want to be the background window in a Chrome tab while someone is doing their homework or doing something else,” he continued, pointing out Facebook Gaming’s potential attractiveness over Twitch’s browser-based existence. “With mobile, if you have the app open and you’re using the app, it’s in the foreground. You can’t do anything else on your mobile phone, and that is extremely powerful.”

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