Facebook Gaming is encouraging streamers and viewers to move to its platform by offering a wide variety of new online casino games and features as it positions to become the #1 platform for gaming streaming.
Facebook rolled out its new gaming platform in 2018 and it’s already proved well worth the investment that the company made. The company racked up 1 billion hours watched in Quarter 3 2020 and expects to see continued growth. It’s true that FB Gaming was launched and started to gain traction just as more and more people were looking for activities to keep them busy during shelter-at-home directives. But the company sees no signs that, after the pandemic subsides, the numbers will dip. With new features, new elements and a steady stream of new consumers, Facebook is confident that they will be able to continue to enjoy years of expansion in the growing gaming market.
Facebook Gaming is quickly moving up on YouTube and Twitch’s markets. Over the last 2 years, when compared to competitor platforms, Facebook Gaming grew by the biggest margin – in hours watched in the 2018-2019 period, its year-on-year growth was 210% -- figures aren’t yet available for the year-on-year performance for 2019-2020.
To what is Facebook’s success due?
For one thing, although it is a stand-alone app, it does to a user’s other Facebook activities including to a Page and a personal profile. That’s one easy way to share gameplay with followers and build communities. The platform also features powerful monetizing tools that operate via third-party developers so users have more types of options for using their gaming to make money.
Facebook also got a boost by the closing of Microsoft’s Mixer platform. Mixer/Microsoft made a deal with Facebook that would direct Mixer creators to Facebook. The Mixer website redirects users to Gaming.
Recently Facebook Gaming released a 2020 Games Marketing Insights reports that provides an overview on the spending habits of gamers. To no one’s great surprise, the report, which surveyed more than 13,000 people in the U.S., the U.K., South Korea and Germany, found that the mobile gaming audience has experienced significant growth during 2020 with a 28% growth in the U.S. alone.
Mobile gaming in the U.S. attracts audiences that are significantly younger than existing players and those new players are involved in gaming activities for more hours than existing players and spend more money on their gaming.
Finally, the importance of the publicity that Facebook Gaming gets from high-profile streamers and notable influencers can’t be emphasized enough. Streamers Jeremy “DisguiseToast” Wang and ZeRo from Super Smash Bros., popular WWE wrestler and actress Ronda Rousey and Influencer Corrina Kopf were encouraged to join the platform.
As son as they joined they brought along their loyal audiences. Facebook Gaming has acquired other talent that uses the platform regularly and consistently and they draw in gamers who are like to watch their heroes as they search for ways to improve their gaming skills.
Nir Doron, CEO of StreamElements, told VentureBeat “It had less to do with growing their overall base of streamers and more to do with people watching the existing streamers a lot more and their big name end-of-the-year talent acquisitions. If they maintain this momentum in 2020 then their trajectory will eventually make them a true competitor with the major players.”
One of the biggest draws to Facebook Gaming is their monetization programs and other new features that keep Facebook Gaming on the cutting edge of everything new and innovative. They include:
Facebook Gaming has recently announced that users are entitled to send stars to their favorite Facebook Gaming content creators to show them their love. Facebook content creators have, to date, earned over 5 billion stars, with stars being Facebook Gaming’s online currency. Viewers buy stars and then hand them out to their favorite streamers.
The streamers can then cash those stars in for real-world currency. 5 billion stars translate to about $50 million, a nice sum of money – most of the money goes to the streamers but Facebook Gaming takes a nice cut as well. Facebook got the Stars program going by giving discounts on the purchase of stars. Users even receive badges for sending out stars along with other perks. So far, over 2,000 creators have earned more than $1,000 per month from Stars, ads and fan subscriptions.
Black Gamer Creator Program
Facebook is reaching out to minority gamers with its “Black Gamer Creator Program” which is designed to bring more African American streamers into the gaming community. Facebook Gaming’s Black Gamer Creator Program is committed to fund equipment and other costs to help black gamers compete on a more even playing field.
Players who are accepted to the program gain early access to new tools and streaming features and will be invited to digital gaming events and bi-monthly training summits. To date, Facebook has committed $10 million to the program which will also pay participating gamers a monthly salary.
Another recent update involves the stream chats’ comment sections. Now, comments that are attached to stars will be more noticeable with bright pink and purple gradient highlights. Comments with bigger stars will have more stand-out highlights and will remained pinned to the chat window for better viewing.
Partnered gaming creators can now feature Live Ads on their streams where pre-roll ads appear before the livestream, image ads appear below the livestream during the livestream and mid-roll ads play in the main window while the broadcast plays in a smaller window.
If a creator opts for a Live Break s/he can set an ad break in the middle a clip or a highlighted video manually. Ad breaks include options for 90 second and 180-second breaks.
The Facebook Level Up Program is also expanding. The idea is that by drawing in more viewers, creators will have the opportunity to expand even further. If a creator has at least 250 returning weekly viewers, s/he can join the Level Up program to access Fan Subscriptions in which fans receive custom emojis in return for pledging a monthly donation to the creator. In this way, creators can build their communities.
The Partners Program is the next level up from the Level Up program. If you are in the Level Up program and continually produce quality content, Facebook will reach out to you to invite you to join the Partners Program. Once you’re in the Partners Program you can access customized support on Facebook, access 1080p and 60 fps, access Beta products and features, unlock the Facebook Stars to allow your fans to donate to you, access fan subscriptions (first you need to meet criteria) and enter the community group with other partners.
As the success of Facebook Gaming skyrockets, Facebook gamers can expect continued advances for platform users.