Facebook is about to launch its dedicated gaming app and sped up the launch because of the pandemic

AP Photo/Mark LennihanFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
  • Facebook will launch its gaming service in app form on Monday as it looks to capitalise on the industry’s current boom.
  • Facebook Gaming lets users watch and create gaming-focused live streams, and also includes some casual games.
  • The social media giant told The New York Times that the coronavirus pandemic led the company to accelerate its work on a number of gaming projects.
  • The app is set to compete with the likes of Amazon-owned Twitch and YouTube.
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Facebook will launch the Facebook Gaming app on Monday as it looks to capitalise on the gaming industry’s current, coronavirus-induced boom.

The app lets users watch and create gaming-focused live streams, and also includes some casual games.

It’s set to compete with the likes of Amazon-owned Twitch and Google’s YouTube, both of which are major services in terms of livestreaming games.

Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, told The New York Times that COVID-19’s emergence has led the company to accelerate its work on a number of gaming projects.

“Investing in gaming in general has become a priority for us because we see gaming as a form of entertainment that really connects people,” she said, citing “a big rise in gaming during quarantine.”

The app will initially only be available on Android. The iOS app is awaiting approval.

Though this is the first time Facebook has launched a proprietary app focused on game live streaming, Facebook Gaming is already the third-largest platform in terms of hours spent watching other people play games.

According to research by Streamlabs and Stream Hatchet, people spent over 500 million hours on Facebook watching other people play games in the first three months of 2020. This compares with over 1 billion hours spent on YouTube’s Gaming Live service and over 3 billion hours on Twitch.

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