March 18, 2019
With an eye to the 700 million worldwide users it says play video games on its site, Facebook is updating its mobile app to feature a dedicated Gaming tab. The tab will be located in the main navigation bar, so that users can go directly to news, streams, gaming groups and other related content. The tab also points users to instant games they can play with friends, eSports organizations, videos from popular streamers, and game publishers. The new tab is built on Fb.gg, the gaming destination Facebook debuted last year.
TechRadar reports that, “Facebook also expanded on its plans to release a standalone Facebook Gaming app with additional features.” “We’re also continuing to beta test a standalone Facebook Gaming app on Android, which includes more features than you’ll find in the Facebook Gaming tab,” said the company in a blog post. “We’re getting feedback from the gaming community as we consider further rollout plans.”
The new Gaming Tab will currently only be visible to “a small subset of the more than 700 million people who enjoy gaming on Facebook each month.”
TechCrunch reports that, “while Twitch and YouTube are today dominating the gaming space, Facebook’s advantage … is its promise of a reduced cut of transactions.” On Fb.gg, gamers drew in fans via Facebook’s “personalized recommendations based on users’ activity,” and then made money with virtual tipping. Facebook took 5 to 30 percent of those tips, “with the cut getting smaller when users [bought] larger packs of the virtual currency.”
Facebook also takes “a cut up to 30 percent” for fan subscriptions, “the same as YouTube but smaller than Twitch’s roughly 50 percent.” Not everyone will trust Facebook to stick to those numbers, but others may jump in to “maximize their earnings and … port their audience over to a new destination.”
On its blog, Facebook stated that, “we want to make it easier for people to find and connect around their favorite games, streamers, groups, and more.” The “centerpiece” of the Gaming tab, it added, is “a feed where you can quickly and easily find content that matters most to you”’ as well as play games, watch gaming videos, and connect with gaming groups.
The company promised that, “as we learn from the community, we’ll test new experiences in the tab, add more types of gaming content, and improve our content recommendations over time.” As the tab rolls out, people who don’t see it in their main navigation bar will find it in the Bookmarks menu.