Facebook’s taking the next step in their efforts to attract more gaming content to their platform by opening up a new tipping system which will enable viewers to donate money to their favorite gaming live-streamers as they watch.
Facebook’s been working to tap into the gaming market for some time. Back in 2016, they announced a partnership with Blizzard Entertainment, the makers of the popular Diablo, Warcraft and Starcraft games, to enable direct connection between their games and Facebook, then early last year, Facebook launched live-streaming via desktop, with a specific focus on gaming content. Later in the year, Facebook also added a new button to Messenger games which enables users to easily broadcast their games via Facebook Live.
The addition of a monetization option for gamers will put Facebook in more direct competition with leaders YouTube and Twitch, which both offer similar in-stream payment options – though Facebook is bypassing one of the key motivators for larger donations offered on those platforms.
On Twitch and YouTube, the amount you donate directly relates to what’s displayed on screen. On Twitch, for example, there’s a different, animated icon for each amount you donate, signifying your level of ‘support’ to the broadcaster.
Facebook, right now, has opted not to add in any signifier on how much the commenter has spent - though they are considering adding in special emoji reactions for different amounts.
According to TechCrunch, the minimum viewers can tip is $3, and the amount Facebook will keep from the tips is unclear at this stage.
The launch is part of Facebook’s bigger push on gaming content with the launch of the Facebook Gaming Creator Program.
Given the rising popularity of gaming content, it makes sense for Facebook to be looking to tap in – the current leader in the gaming space, Twitch, sees 15 million daily active users, with an average of 106 minutes of content watched per person, per day.
As Facebook looks to broaden its video ambitions, gaming is an obvious focal point – though it’ll also be interesting to see if their live-stream tipping system is limited to only gaming streams, or if they roll it out to all streamers, providing extra motivation for creators to stick with Facebook Live, as opposed to more lucrative revenue potential on YouTube.
If you could earn an equivalent amount of revenue with Facebook, with the potential to reach a wider audience, that could be a big draw for video creators. Gaming is the key focus right now, but it could be the start of Facebook’s next big video content push.