Making Most Of Lockdowns, Facebook Gaming Launches Earlier Than Planned – Yahoo Finance

April 21, 2020

Capitalizing on stay-at-home orders and lockdowns, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) accelerated the launch of a dedicated gaming stream app.

What Happened

Facebook Gaming, a mobile app that allows gamers to watch streams from their favorite gamers, share smartphone screens and leave comments, was launched on Monday.

The free app, which was scheduled for launch in June, was released earlier to provide an alternative outlet for 700 million of the 2.5 billion Facebook users already engaged in gaming content, according to The New York Times.

Facebook Gaming will compete with apps and services such as Amazon Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) Twitch, Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Mixer and Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) YouTube.

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Why It Matters

“We’re seeing a big rise in gaming during [the] quarantine,” said Fidji Simo, Head of Facebook App. According to the Times, the gaming business is booming and is currently valued at $160 billion.

The app is already available on Google’s Play store and will be available on Apple’s App Store after the company grants its approval.

Facebook has had some success in attracting streamers to its gaming platform, according to Esports Observer. It offered exclusive contracts to Jeremy “Disguised Toast” Wang, a top streamer of Activision Blizzard Inc.’s (NASDAQ: ATVI) Hearthstone, and former world no. 1  professional player of Nintendo Co., Ltd’s (OTC: NTDOY) Super Smash Bros, Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios. Both streamers were formerly on Twitch.

The social media giant has also signed a streaming deal with former UFC fighter Ronda Rousey.

What Else Is There

Spurred by a 100% increase in audio and video calling, this month Facebook also launched a desktop app for Messenger on both iOS and Windows platforms.

Facebook shares closed the regular session 0.56% lower at $178.24.

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