SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook has launched a standalone gaming app, allowing users to create and watch livestreams of games in a challenge to the Amazon-owned Twitch platform.
The new app was available for Android devices, with a separate version for Apple’s iOS in the works.
The app was scheduled to originally release in June but Facebook accelerated its plans as the world is being ordered to stay home during the coronavirus outbreak.
The free app covers several years of investment at Facebook, which is said more than 700 million of its 2.5 billion monthly users already engaged with gaming content.
Facebook said the new app will enable customers to watch “e-sports” or game competitions as well as participate in games with other users online.
The leading social network said it accelerated the launch “to encourage meaningful community interactions” for people locked down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The new app includes casual games and access to gaming communities. A function called Go Live lets users upload streams of other mobile games on the same device by pressing just a few buttons.
Facebook said it sees strong interest in the new app, with some 700 million of its global users already playing games or participating in gaming groups on its platform.
The company tested the Facebook gaming app in Southeast Asia and Latin America over the last 18 months. It will be released on the Google Play Store for Android devices in since 2018.