Facebook's Live Platform Allows Game Streaming and Viewer Rewards
On the first morning of San Francisco’s Game Developer’s Conference this year, Facebook announced its release of a new software development kit designed to make it even easier to stream PC games live to the social media platform.
After testing Live streaming from games like Overwatch from developers like Blizzard since 2016, Live broadcasting from PC games to the News Feed is now open to all developers.
This announcement marks an attempt on the part of Facebook to capture a piece of the pie from companies like Twitch and Youtube. The gamer audience is both dedicated and lucrative, as its potential to foster viral growth and sales is unparalleled. And that’s just the fans of the games themselves-- professional streamers have their own enthusiastic followings, and Facebook’s partnership program, launched in January, has already helped gamer influencers build out their monetization efforts.
Since 2016, Facebook has allowed Blizzard games, most notably Overwatch, to stream direct through its Live platform.
The company built on that feature to develop its new Games SDK for PC, which will make it easy for any game developer to allow Facebook Live streaming on the software side at the push of a button. With this feature in place, streamers won’t need to use external hardware or third-party software to get their livestreams up on Facebook. Furthermore, the software development kit allows developers to grant in-game perks and other benefits to those who view streams on live, incentivizing them to stick to Facebook instead of watching on Twitch. The platform also recently started testing a way for viewers to tip cash to their favorite streaming stars, and has even hired some of them for its games team.
The gaming community has an unrivaled sense of loyalty, and members have already invested substantial amounts of time and money consuming their favorite Let’s Plays on Youtube and Twitch. Facebook will have its work cut out for it as it tries to draw gamers away from these competing stream sites, but it is making efforts to make its Live platform as versatile and appealing as possible. By offering special benefits and monetization opportunities to popular Let’s Play-ers, the platform may find that whole segments of the community follow.