2020 was always going to be the year of gaming worldwide. But, with the coronavirus pandemic confining people indoors, gaming platforms are now witnessing an unprecedented surge in consumption.
To leverage this, Facebook pre-dated the release of its new gaming app, which is being touted as a challenger to Amazon-owned Twitch and YouTube's gaming livestreams.
Originally scheduled for a June launch, the Facebook Gaming app hit Google Play Store on April 15. Within a week, it racked up five million downloads, and is one of the top apps in the 'Entertainment' category.
Facebook made the official announcement in a tweet yesterday. It also stressed on the importance of '#PlayApartTogether' in times of a global crisis.
"The Facebook Gaming app is a focused, gaming-only experience where you can watch your favourite streamers, play instant games, and take part in gaming groups. It’s all of Facebook Gaming in one neat, app-sized package," the social media giant explained.
Facebook Gaming is almost a natural progression of the platform's native gaming tab, which counts 700 million engaged users. In one year, gaming on Facebook has grown a massive 210 percent, according to streaming analytics provider StreamElements.
Now, with millions of people under lockdowns, it is headed for another spike. While the app is Android-only for now, Facebook shared that the iOS version is also in the works.
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Facebook's launch comes at a time when cloud gaming is catching up globally.
Silicon Valley tech giants like Google and Apple have also ramped up investments in their respective cloud gaming services — Stadia and Arcade — to cash in on the massive interest in live multiplayer gaming.
Not only do these services offer avid gamers a wide array of titles to choose from, but they will keep them consistently engaged with immersive art, graphics, motion design, and live community interaction – all processed on the cloud with little or no lag.
Fidji Simo, Head of Facebook Gaming, was quoted as saying, "Investing in gaming in general has become a priority for us because we see it as a form of entertainment that really connects people. It’s entertainment that’s not just a form of passive consumption but entertainment that is interactive and brings people together. We’re seeing a big rise in gaming during quarantine.”
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)
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