Facebook plans to introduce the Facebook Gaming mobile app on Monday, the social network said, in its most decisive move into the video game business as people seek entertainment during the pandemic.
The free app caps several years of investment at Facebook, which said more than 700 million of its 2.5 billion monthly users already engaged with gaming content. The app is designed largely for creating and watching live gameplay, a fast-growing online sector where Facebook is battling Amazon’s Twitch, Google’s YouTube and Microsoft’s Mixer services.
With much of the world urged or ordered to stay home during the coronavirus outbreak, the $160 billion global games business is booming. Facebook originally intended to release the app in June but accelerated its plans as the quarantine’s scope became clear.
“Investing in gaming in general has become a priority for us because we see gaming as a form of entertainment that really connects people,” said Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, who reports to the Silicon Valley company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg. “It’s entertainment that’s not just a form of passive consumption but entertainment that is interactive and brings people together.”
Video games are surging in popularity in the pandemic. So Facebook is rolling out an app designed for creating and watching live gameplay.