Facebook Gaming is introducing worldwide early access to tournaments for eSports amateurs. Though the feature had been in development for some time, said Facebook Gaming head engineer Mina Abouseif, the company released it early to help people shut-in due to the coronavirus pandemic cope better with the isolation. The tournaments feature was originally designed for live gaming events, but Facebook shifted it to one that will help people stay connected to friends, family and communities via “friendly competition.”
VentureBeat reports Abouseif noted that, “our mission for Facebook Gaming is to build the world’s gaming community and organized gameplay has always been a big part of gaming, regardless of levels of competition.” He used to frequently play Electronic Arts’ FIFA soccer games at his friends’ houses, and he wanted to find a way for “the friends to connect digitally.”
“We noticed that there were many tournament organizers that were using Facebook Events and Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups to try to get the word out,” he said, adding that, “the landscape was very fragmented.” “What we set out to do was just make it easier for those tournament organizers to streamline their creation, their moderation and celebration of tournaments as part of their gaming communities.”
When COVID-19 hit, the concept switched from in-person to online. “During this time of isolation, we really wanted to accelerate our plans and try to launch globally, much faster than we originally anticipated,” Abouseif said. “The goal is to empower these gaming communities to coordinate and have these tournaments engage these communities.” He added that, “brackets, leaderboards, and everything else happens virtually,” and that, “creators and broadcasters can host fan tournaments while streaming the action live.”
Fundraising tools built into gaming videos will enable game creators to “also organize tournaments to support charitable causes.” Recently, Facebook Gaming and Oculus stated they joined the game companies’ initiative — #PlayApartTogether — to “support the World Health Organization by raising awareness about the dangers of the coronavirus.”
The early access tournaments tool has some limitations. Currently, it cannot “matchmake,” requiring the tournament organizer and participants to “actually coordinate matches in a game like ‘Call of Duty: Warzone’.” Players and organizers must also report the results of the matches.