With many people around the world advised to stay at home to curb the spread of COVID-19, the $160 billion global gaming industry is expanding and Facebook want its share of this market with the launch of a free app. On Monday, April 20, 2020, the social media giant launched a dedicated mobile app called Facebook Gaming worldwide, made for building and watching live gameplay.
“Investing in gaming, in general, has become a priority for us because we see gaming as a form of entertainment that really connects people,” said Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, who reports to the Silicon Valley company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg.
According to him, entertainment is not just a form of passive consumption but entertainment that is interactive and brings people together. Facebook had initially planned to release the gaming app in June but had to change its plans as nations across the world continue to observe social distancing and lockdowns, in line with instructions given by the World Health Organisation.
About 10 years ago, Facebook was a leading gaming platform during the FarmVille gaming era but the company has not been a commanding force in recent times. The free gaming app caps many years of investment by Facebook, which said close to a billion of its 2.5 billion monthly users are already active with gaming computing.
Not quite long, the social media giant announced a new feature called Tournaments on its platform. The feature allows users to create, join, or follow live gaming tournaments, which will also have an integrated charity tool. Since the tournaments are integrated into the Facebook Gaming service itself, users will be able to host the tournament and stream them at the same time.
Speaking on the development, the company said the launch of its gaming platform is to help people stay connected during the coronavirus lockdowns. “Social distancing means we have to be apart, but games can still bring us together. So today we’re opening early access to Facebook Gaming tournaments, a feature to help people stay connected through games,” Facebook said in a blog post.
With over 700 million of its users already interacting with gaming content on the main Facebook app, it is hoping to gain considerable traction through Facebook Gaming, especially as the coronavirus pandemic and government lockdowns have forced people around the world to shelter in place.
By Ahmed Iyanda.