Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced a new group type specifically designed for gaming creators, as Facebook continues to lean into gaming, in an effort to maximize its presence in the fast-growing space.
Facebook's new gaming Fan Groups are being launched today with selected gaming creators, and are designed to facilitate improved connection within gaming communities.
As you can see in this screenshot, Facebook's new Fan Groups include new elements like #tags for topics to streamline navigation to relevant discussions within the community.
That will help players connect with the content most aligned to their specific interests, while Facebook's also looking to help gamers link up for actual games within these groups via a new ‘Looking for Player’ post type.
That, again, will better facilitate community engagement and growth, by establishing stronger bonds with the people that you're already in gaming groups with.
Facebook will also begin recommending relevant gaming groups to viewers at the conclusion of some gaming streams, while it'll also prompt users to join Fan Groups after they've engaged with a creators' Page. That could be a good way to grow these communities, and enhance connection among interested users.
As noted, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement during a test of Facebook's new audio rooms feature, which also included a range of Facebook Gaming streamers in the audio chat, who each shared their experiences in building communities on the platform.
Facebook Gaming has seen a steady rise in interest, particularly over the last year, with StreamLabs reporting that Facebook Gaming surpassed a billion hours watched in 2020, a record for the platform. It still has a way to go in catching up to the leaders in YouTube and Twitch, but Facebook is gaining some ground in the space, which could leave it well-positioned to capitalize on the next phase of gaming content, which will be immersive gaming experiences in the VR realm.
Indeed, Facebook is already the leader in VR content, with its Oculus headsets now the leading VR unit, and as sales of its VR devices continue to rise, building communities like this, connected into Facebook's massive network graph, could be key to broadening its horizons in the space, and establishing entrenched communities, aligned to the platform.
Which is really why today's announcement is only the beginning. It may not seem like much, adding gaming groups into the broader Facebook ecosphere, but the idea, eventually, will be that these groups will facilitate broader connection and growth of Facebook's VR tools, linking the two platforms together, combining scale and technology to maximize its gaming footprint.
In addition to this, Zuckerberg also noted that any badges earned during a creator's live-stream will now carry over to the Fan Group as well, providing additional recognition for community members for their engagement during live broadcasts.
There's a range of small, but relevant additions in here that could each have major significance in the longer term. And if you're not paying attention to the growth of gaming, you really are missing a massive element of emerging culture, given its influence on virtually every part of the broader online sphere.
The live test of Facebook's audio rooms got all the attention in this announcement, but the gaming tools are equally relevant to Facebook's growth plans.