With an expected 1.69 billion users in 2020, Facebook is hardly an unknown entity in today’s world.

I can state with quite certainty (and with statistical backing) that more than half of you who are reading this, are/have been, on Facebook.

You may have even gotten across this article over the social media giant as well.

Facebook has never been a dormant social networking site and has grown itself through a lot of different facets of business, be it Web Analytics, the virtual reality spectrum or being in the plans of launching its very own cryptocurrency.

Keeping up with the same spirit, it took another decision, to introduce an app for gaming!

Facebook and Games:

facebook gaming

Facebook having games is not something new, rather, within the first five years of launching the app, Facebook had given the option of gaming in its sites.

The first games namely Barn buddy and Happy Farm, which were launched in 2009, proved to be a moderate success as people liked the option of playing and competing with their friends.

But it was with the launch of Farmville that the craze for Facebook gaming really took off!

People who were not into much online gaming took to Farmville for hours at end!

The USP became the fact that a person’s progress in the game was posted on their Facebook walls, which made the game competitive and an instant hit!

During the reign of Farmville as the most popular game on Facebook, the site grew, from 200 million users in 2009, to 750 million in 2011!

As per a report, at its height, Farmville accounted for approx 10% of Facebook’s revenue.

However, the company could not continue its

 dominance in the gaming sector for much long, it even had a shaky experience with launching various apps under its name like Facebook camera.

Facebook’s Re-entry in the scene:

In order to give direct competition to Amazon’s Twitch, Google’s YouTube and Microsoft mixer services in the online gaming sector, it has decided to launch a game, designed to create and watch live gameplay.

Why now?

The $160 billion dollar gaming industry is at its peak and booming amidst the current pandemic.

 “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.

By acquiring play giga for about $78 million dollars, Facebook gaming grew  210% in the first month of 2020, acquiring 8.5% of the total market share.

With the growth on their side and the lockdown at countries all over the world showing apt conditions, the company decided to launch the mobile game in April rather than the planned launch in June.

The Competition

As clearly specified by their mission in launching this game, the competition of Facebook will be Amazon’s Twitch, Google’s YouTube and Microsoft’s Mixer.

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Picture: The market share of all the major online gaming platforms over two years

Though twitch has lost some of its share to Facebook over the year, it’s still comfortably the market leader with around 60% share in the market, followed by YouTube.

Facebook gaming’s SOP

Though the app, which will be present on mobile phones rather than on a PC. Vivek Sharma, Facebook’s Vice President for gaming, believes that playing a game over the phone makes you concentrate on the game, which is a very powerful phenomenon.

Though the app will have games, the thing it will focus most on is people making and watching live streams through it.

The thing with twitch is that one has to install third party apps and go through complicated processes or connect to your PC, to livestream the game that you want to stream.

The app however, promises to have a “Go live” button through which, by only a few clicks, your stream will be live on your Facebook feed.

Thus, says Vivek Sharma anybody can become a streamer by just the use of a few buttons.

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With the de-monetisation of YouTube, a lot of gamers and YouTubers are finding it a less lucrative option. PewDiePie, the channel with the most subscribers on YouTube claims that he has become a hat seller, as he is getting more money from selling hats than from ad revenue.

At such a moment of time, if Facebook provides sufficient incentives to the gamers; a good number of them may even make a transition from YouTube to Facebook.

The live stream option may even find it more lucrative than the Amazon twitch services.

Road ahead for Facebook:

Whether Facebook learns from their past success and failures in the gaming industry, only time will tell.

It may become one of those steps which brings back the popularity of the social site amongst the younger population.

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With twitch and YouTube gaming having such a large share of the industry, becoming a leader may be difficult right away. But the growth which Facebook games have seen in this year, will make them confident and even hopeful of regaining their dominance in the gaming sector once again.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s decision to buy a 9.99% stake in Jio making the trade the largest investment for a minority stake by a technology company in the world and the largest FDI in technology sector in India, is seen by many as a strategic step in one of Facebook’s largest markets in the world.

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“India has more than 60 million small businesses and millions millions of people rely on them for jobs. With communities around the world in lockdown, many of these entrepreneurs need digital tools to grow their business. This is something we can help with”

Mark Zuckerberg’s comment on the deal is a clear indicator that the social networking site is looking for further expansion in the Indian market and at the same time, helping the large, budding entrepreneurs that the country posseses.

How will all this turn out?

What impact will the acquisition have on the new game?

And what future does Facebook hold in our Country?

These are all questions that are yet unanswered.

But, one thing’s for sure: the gaming industry will not remain the same.

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