Since Facebook Gaming launched in 2018 the company has made major strides in creatively advancing its platform to serve gaming enthusiasts on all levels.
In many ways, in the three years that Facebook has been involved in the gaming world the company has taken the lead in gaming innovation for esports, video gaming, online casino gaming and online streaming. Facebook created “reverse passthrough” tech with eye-tracking cameras, creative “Big Catch” framework advertising, gaming fan groups, a black gaming creator program and a content partnership with the LOUD esports organization to provide users with Fire Free and GTA V gameplay highlights.
Facebook has also pushed ahead with their virtual reality Vegas casino online gaming including the development of the Oculus wireless headset and has acquired a number of VR gaming studios including BigBox VR. Facebook Gaming is now recognized as a leader in the fight against anti-online bullying including in the war against sexual harassment of female gamers.
Now Facebook Gaming has its eye on two new initiatives including entry into the fantasy gaming market and providing its gamers with licensed music to add to their gaming streams.
Facebook is venturing into the world of fantasy games and fantasy sports. They have launched Facebook Fantasy Games in the U.S. and Canada on the iOS and Android Facebook apps. They are offering both “simpler” versions of traditional fantasy sports games that are already on the market along with games in which players can make predictions associated with popular TV series such as “The Bachlorette” and “Survivor.”
In offering such a framework Facebook has found a way to branch out people who want to wager on their predictions of the results of events but who aren’t necessarily sports fans. The first game that will be available is Pick & Play Sports. Fans receive points when they correctly predict the winner of a game, the number of points scored by a specific players or other events that unfold during the match. Correctly predicting multiple events over several days earns the players additional points.
Pick & Play Sports is expected to include sports and other TV and pop culture events. In Fantasy Survivor for instance, players choose a set of castaways from the “Survivor” team to join their fantasy team. In “The Bachelorette” fans choose several of the men from the group of suitors that are vying for the Bachelorette’s heart. Players receive points based on the events and actions that take place during the real show.
Facebook is also planning to introduce additional sports-focused games. In the MLB Home Run Picks game players select the team that they predict will hit the most home runs. The LaLiga Winning Streak involves predictions of fans regarding which team will win.
Facebook is involving the social media element by allowing players who want to compete with or against friends to do so on the platform.
Streamers who want to play music while they are streaming their gameplay have a new option now that Facebook Gaming is preparing to license music on behalf on the streamers. In an interview with GamesBeat, Renato Olivalves, Facebook’s Director of global gaming partnerships, announced that Facebook will make music available to streamers in order to allow them to create a better experience for the community as well as to experience an enhanced environment themselves.
To celebrate the new opportunity, over the coming months Facebook Gaming will host “Play Loud”, a series of celebrity DJ streams to be paired with select gaming creators.
In the past streamers have been caught between Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedowns, licensing issues and platforms that disallow content whenever there’s music running in the background, even when that music comes from the game itself. YouTube and other platforms use automated processes to catch pirates and people playing legitimate games are swept up in the net.
Olivalves said Facebook wants gaming creators to focus on streaming and connection with their communities. They want them to be able to access popular music in their streams without risking takedowns. Now, Facebook Partner and Level Up Creators can play background music during their livestreams. The music includes content produced by hundreds of labels, societies and publishers including Warner Music Group, BMG, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Merlin and Kobalt Music Group.
Olivalves said, “We’ve been testing since last September, and it’s compliant with what the music industry wants. It is empowering communities to stream live content and use the music as an essential part of the live engagement with the community.”
Facebook is celebrating the launch of their music library with a #PlayLoud event in which DJs accompany gameplay by Facebook creators with background soundtracks. The event aims to celebrate the convergence of gaming and music.
Black Content Creator Program
Facebook has created a Black Content Creator Program to support young Black gaming creators.
The program is part of Facebook’s new We the Culture initiative which aims to invest in and amplify content from black creators. The first cohort of the program will include 120 black creators. Programming for Facebook Watch will involve partnerships with production companies that focus on Black creative.
Facebook launched We the Culture after the death of George Floyd when attention was being focused on inequality for black entrepreneurs and business owners. Facebook announced that it would invest $200 million to support black-owned organizations and businesses. $25 million of that was earmarked for Black content creators. Dan Reed, VP of global media, sports and equity partnerships said, “It’s our responsibility to make sure we’re enabling equal outcomes for all communities.”
We the Culture provides partner management support, training resources, educational resources, audience development resources and marketing support to Black content creators. In addition to gaming, the content includes subjects such as music, poetry, food, art and more and is available to content creators who broadcast on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Reed said, “We have a lot to do, and this is just the beginning.”
We the Culture is an outgrowth of Facebook’s content partnership group which was established in 2020. It supports dedicated teams that focus on supporting and strengthening creators serving Black and Latinx communities.
Facebook also runs additional accelerator programs including GAPP, a growth accelerator program and the SEEN Black filmmakers program. The programs provide digital media organizations — including The Source, Atlanta Black Star, All Def — with tools, resources and education to achieve “sustained success on our platforms.”