Facebook has launched its own video game streaming hub.
Facebook.gg, which launched on Thursday, will compete directly with popular platforms like Twitch and Mixer.
It’s part of the social media site’s continued efforts to become a destination for video content.
The new service suggests streams based on who individual users follow, and highlights content chosen by Facebook.
At the time of writing 3,400 play Player Unknown: Battlegrounds (PubG ) on Facebook.gg, while 2,900 people are streaming Fortnite.
In contrast, according to metrics from Twitch analytics site SullyGnome, Fortnite consistently dominates on Twitch as the most streamed game.
It points to a slightly different audience for Facebook.gg and the well established Twitch.
Younger gamers are more likely to play Fortnite than PubG, so the fact PubG currently dominates on Facebook.gg is an early indicator that the platform’s audience is older.
Facebook will be wanting to target a younger demographic, according to Twitch-partnered streamer, Spamfish.
“There’s so much money in streaming right now,” he says.
“Video games streamers have extremely engaged communities because they watch 30 to 40 minutes an hour average.
“That’s a lot of time to keep someone sat in a chair, and that’s a great opportunity to advertise to them.”
Young audiences are most valuable to advertisers, and gaming audiences could carve a sizeable slice of that market.
“Facebook wants 15 to 30-year-old men, because they spend money on all kinds of stuff,” Spamfish says.
“So that’s what Twitch provides. It’s a very skewed male demographic. I’m 37 and I’m seen as an old man as a streamer. It’s a young person’s game.”
This push into video game content is not a new venture for Facebook.
Back in January it launched the Gaming Creator Pilot Program, which is its own version of Twitch’s Partner Program.
The Twitch Partner Program gives it exclusive rights to the world’s most popular streamers and, in return, pays them a portion of the service’s advertising revenue.
Facebook’s pilot program has attempted to lure streamers away from Twitch and YouTube by offering in-stream monetisation options like viewer tip jars.
The new hub is the next step, offering more discoverability options for streamers who may be finding it hard to make their voices heard on Twitch’s crowded platform.
It gives video game streamers on Facebook their own landing page, which makes it much easier for audiences to discover new content away from the chaos of the news feed.
Facebook’s quest for gaming content goes back even further though.
Back in 2016 it cut a deal with Blizzard to stream Overwatch on Facebook Live, before bolstering its mobile Instant Games platform with live streaming at the turn of this year.
It also partnered with ESL to broadcast Dota 2 and Counter-Strike Go eSports.
“I definitely think there’s an audience for Facebook to carve out in video game streaming,” says Spamfish.
“It’s such a big thing, and once you’ve experienced watching someone entertaining who you can interact with immediately, it’s so compelling as a viewer.
It’s like talking to Ant and Dec while they’re presenting takeaway.”
However, Spamfish is happy to be sticking with Twitch for the time being.
“If I’m into watching games streams, I don’t want to be doing it on Facebook.
“I’ve got to log in with my real name, the chat interface isn’t great, while Twitch has been refined over six, seven, eight years now to become a really good video game livestream website.
I can definitely see why Facebook has done it though. This is where entertainment is going.”