Facebook is making a casting call for online Gamers and incentivizing them to join via programs like in-game tipping, as the tech giant looks to compete with Amazon's Twitch and Google's YouTube.
On Friday, Facebook officially announced its "gaming creator pilot program" with a blog post on new features and an application form. Creators already in the program promoted it via a video montage:
"There's a lot of work to be done, but we’re committed to building the fundamental architecture that gaming creators need to be successful," Facebook's blog post reads. "Most of all, with each new feature we add for gaming video, we’re committed to building it alongside our creators hand-in-hand."
Facebook only gets more powerful if people keep their eyes glued to the app or their fingers tapping the screen. The popularity of services like Twitch has already proven that gamers are an engaged bunch, and Facebook has been slowly building an ecosystem to attract that kind of audience. Now, it's trying to get more people to "Broadcast Like A Boss" and "Publish Like A Pro," as its Help Center reads.
Regardless of those educational materials, Facebook really just needs to get gamers to spend time on its platform in a world where Twitch and YouTube dominate. One opportunity Facebook embraced at launch is monetization, a.k.a directly making money from contributing to the platform. Facebook now lets users tip a minimum of $3 to gamers accepted into the program while they stream. Gamers also can stream in 1080p/60fps, a higher quality than traditional feeds.
But Facebook is far from the only platform with these features. Fan tipping is available on Twitch and YouTube. Fans who tip on those platforms also get access to special features. Facebook is considering adding some shoutouts like different emoji reactions for fans who contribute, according to TechCrunch.
Still, Facebook is unique in many ways. It has a global audience of more than 2 billion users per month. The company also has access to games-loving communities on the Facebook app, as well as Instagram and its virtual reality company Oculus.
The initiative aligns with Facebook's continued push for video and new focus on "meaningful" interactions. Earlier this month, Facebook massively shifted its News Feed by de-prioritizing Pages, but it's looking to direct people to engaged communities via Facebook Watch and Groups.
To celebrate the launch of its program, Facebook is hosting a livestream event for gamers on Jan. 27 at 8:15 p.m. ET on the Facebook Page for the online game, H1Z1. Creators already accepted into the pilot program, including Misses Mae, Doom49, and The Warp Zone, will be participating. Facebook also teased in its blog post that it would have a big presence at PAX East in April.