Facebook will introduce an app designed for creating and watching live gameplay on Monday, the New York Times reported, citing the social network.
According to the report, the app will be free and will have no advertising. It was originally intended for release in June but the spread of the coronavirus prodded the company to accelerate its plans to meet the surge in gaming resulting from Covid-19 quarantine measures adopted around the world.
The app will include some casual games to play as well as community functions, but the focus will primarily be on watching and creating game livestreams.
The app will initially be available for Android. An iOS version will be available once Apple approves it, Facebook said.
Facebook will make money on the new app by taking a cut of “stars,” which fans can buy and send to gaming streamers.
We are expecting Facebook's official announcement.
Updated: Facebook’s dedicated Gaming app is now available to download on the Play Store. The app is dedicated exclusively to video games, game streaming and discussion about the games industry.
The app can be used to play some casual games with your friends, but also to watch and host streams. You can use the software’s Go Live feature by tapping the floating camera icon on the bottom right of the screen to quickly start streaming.
The app also offers chat functionality, allowing you to to talk with other people watching the same stream. As it was previously reported, the app doesn’t feature ads; instead, monetization is limited to viewer “stars,” which like Twitch’s “bits,” you can buy to use in chat and cheer on your favorite streamer.
"Our global streamer community has demanded a stand-alone Facebook Gaming app for a while, so we're excited to finally launch it on Google Play," says Vivek Sharma, vp of Facebook Gaming. "We are building homes for the many types of gaming communities on and off Facebook. The Facebook Gaming app is a prime example of gaming's resurgence at Facebook over the last few years, and we're just getting started."
Facebook will release an iOS version of the app once it obtains approval from Apple.
Facebook has shown an interest in gaming in recent years. Meanwhile, both ech giants Apple and Google launched video game offerings — the mobile game subscription service Apple Arcade and game streaming service Stadia, respectively — last year.
Facebook has also acquired numerous VR game studios in recent months, including Beat Saber developer Beat Games in November. The company also continues to increase its live-streaming efforts, inking exclusive deals with streamers.