Facebook on Monday launched a mobile gaming app aimed at challenging Twitch’s and YouTube’s dominance of the live game-streaming market. The free Facebook Gaming app, available only on Android right now, is designed for people already engaged in the online gaming community but will also include casual games and access to gaming communities, The New York Times reported Sunday.
“Investing in gaming in general has become a priority for us because we see gaming as a form of entertainment that really connects people,” Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, told the paper. “It’s entertainment that’s not just a form of passive consumption but entertainment that is interactive and brings people together.”
The app was originally scheduled to be released in June, according to the Times, but the social media giant pushed it up a few months as thepandemic has forced people to stay home.
In the Facebook Gaming app, users are able to livestream themselves playing certain mobile games installed on the phone such as PUBG Mobile. They can also see Facebook posts from game companies and news sites, watch other streamers or play Facebook games such as Words with Friends, Trivia Crack and OMG.
Facebook’s push is a testament to the popularity of esports, in which the top gamers around the world battle each other in a wide range of games over the internet. Esports was worth more than $1 billion last year, and that number is growing.
More than 700 million Facebook users play games, watch gaming videos or post in gaming groups. Last year, the social media giant launched a gaming tab in the app’s navigation bar for people who spend time playing games, viewing gaming videos or interacting in gaming groups.
Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.