Facebook is continuing its mission to be the entertainment destination for creator made content. This time the company is looking to take on Twitch.
In late 2017, Facebook launched Watch, a video platform that was considered to be the company’s answer to YouTube. The social media giant launched the platform with a mix of funded content from brands like Tastemade, Complex, and Refinery29. The end goal of the new video destination, per Mark Zuckerberg, is to be a platform that’s dominated by content created by “normal creators” who are compensated by a split in ad-revenue (aka YouTube 2.0).
Now, four months after launching Watch — the success of which is arguable — the company is setting its sights on Twitch, the gaming focused social video site.
In a blog post published this morning, the social media behemoth announced the launch of its Gaming Creator Program, an initiative to bring video game streamers to the platform.
“We’re focused on helping creators build thriving communities on Facebook, and over the last year we’ve made a concerted effort to listen to and work with gaming creators to help shape the future of gaming video on Facebook,” the post read. “For gaming creators, we’ve seen Facebook Live become particularly impactful. It’s changed how people come together around video, and it gives gaming creators the chance to build and connect with their community in real time.”
The new initiative will focus on four key things, including monetization
The Gaming Creator Program is intended to:
- Help gaming creators build more meaningful and more engaged communities on Facebook than anywhere else.
- Increase discovery and distribution across multiple surfaces, including Facebook.com, Instagram and Oculus.
- Build a platform where creators at every level have the opportunity to thrive.
- Support gaming creators with the types of tools they need to make a living streaming games on Facebook.
Creating money off live streaming has been a rapidly growing trend within the online community. Aside from YouTube and Twitch, other platforms — like Live.me, Musical.ly, and Periscope — have placed greater focus on attracting users with the promise of making a living “doing what they love.” To that end, Facebook says they are “are actively exploring ways for fans to back their favorite gaming creators via payments during select livestreams on Facebook.com.”
“Based on the results of our initial tests, we’ll expand our fan support monetization initiatives to more gaming creators, including participants in our initial pilot program,” the company wrote.
Tomorrow Facebook plans to host an event to onboard dozens of gaming creators that are entering the program. Some of those creators include Misses Mae, Doom49, and The Warp Zone. Users can tune in at 5:15pm PT for a special livestream on Daybreak’s H1Z1 Facebook Page to see who is the last one standing in a fast-paced, action-packed battle royale shooter.
The company stated in the blog that it plans “to make Facebook gaming creators a centerpiece of [its] presence, starting with PAX East in April.”
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Facebook’s recent bumpy past with streaming gaming content
Facebook’s recent effort to jump into the gaming space have been turbulent. Recently, the company announced a partnership with ESL, an esports company that organizes competitions worldwide. The partnership gave Facebook exclusive streaming rights to ESL’s English language streams service, as opposed to Twitch, which had been the dominant service.
Many in the gaming community weren’t happy about the switch. The first tournament streamed on Facebook, the Dota2 ESL One Genting tournament, received a remarkably low view count, as Forbes pointed out, much lower than the views compared to similar tournaments streamed on Twitch in the past. It was also reported that unofficial streams of the same tournament on Twitch were getting more views than the official stream on Facebook.
Additionally, fans complained about technical issues with the stream and the Facebook platform. Many complained about the visual quality of the stream, while others ran into issues trying to watch on mobile devices.
As might be expected, fans took to Reddit to express their grievances with the Facebook exclusivity. On January 23, the top five posts on the Dota2 subReddit were complaining about the exclusive Facebook streams, and another six posts on the front page were either complaints or suggestions on ways of watching the stream without having to use Facebook.