(Pocket-lint) – Back in 2018 Facebook launched a dedicated game streaming hub and moved into the video game streaming world competing with the likes of YouTube Gaming and Amazon’s Twitch.
Originally Facebook gaming started life as a dedicated, independent hub known as FB.gg. This hub gave Facebook Live streamers – who primarily stream gameplay – a landing page to find streams and start a live stream. In 2019, the company made Facebook Gaming accessible via an easy access tab within the main Facebook app on your phone.
Then the company launched a dedicate mobile app to make Facebook Gaming even more accessible. But what is Facebook Gaming? How does it work and should you care? We’re covering what you need to know to help you find out.
What is Facebook’s game streaming hub?
To make it easier for you to find and follow gaming content, Facebook has a gaming video hub on Facebook. It’s nested under the main website, within the app, and accessible at the short URL FB.gg.
This section of Facebook aggregates live and prerecorded gaming video on the social media platform. Keep in mind Facebook offers the ability to live stream via its Facebook Live tool, and this hub is an extension of that, but with a focus on game streams.
Facebook’s game streaming hub has been in an “experimental phase” for a while, but is starting to expand rapidly of late.
This section of Facebook includes a feed where fans can explore relevant gaming content; improvements to recommendations; expanded gaming video inventory in more languages and integration of an Instant Games tab on the mobile version of the gaming hub so people can toggle between watching and playing games.
Here’s how Facebook explained the game streaming hub:
“People will be able to discover gaming video on our new destination based on creators and games they follow, Pages they like and Groups they belong to. We’ll also feature creators, esports competitions and content from gaming industry events on FB.gg.”
How does Facebook’s game streaming hub work?
On the left side of the hub, there is a persistent navigation bar, with links to the following sections: Home, Browse Games, Browse Streamers, view clips and more. Here’s how those sections work.
This is the home page of the hub. On it, there is a featured live stream at the top, followed by a category for curated live streams and another category that lets you find streams by games, like Fortnite. And below those there is a category for suggested streamers, who you can then individually follow. Other categories include who you’ve followed, recent live streams, streams watched by your friends, etc.
Browse all Games
The Browse All Games section in the hub brings you to a place to find more games to follow.
From this section you can find specific streamers and those who are already popular on Facebook Gaming. You’ll also see “suggested” streamers on the left side which allows you to find streamers who are already live.
Here gamers can create tournaments and organise games where players can compete each other on specific dates.
As you’d expect, you can also access more casual Facebook games to play with your friends from here too. Games like Words with Friends, Uno, Bubble Shooter and more all appear here. You can search for games or find them via categories.
How to find Facebook’s game streaming hub
Go to FB.gg (or www.facebook.com/gaming).
How to follow a streamer on Facebook’s game hub
To follow streams from a particular streamer, go to the Suggested Streamers category from Home, then find a streamer you like, and click follow. This will add link under a Following section on the left of the hub, which you can go to browse all the available streams from that person.
How to follow a game on Facebook’s game streaming hub
To follow streams for a game, go to the Streams by Games category from Home, then find a game you like, and click the Add to Games button. This will add link under a Your Games section on the left of the hub. Click the link to browse all the available streams for that game.
How to stream your gaming on Facebook Gaming
As well as watching other gamers streaming, you might be interested in Facebook Gaming because you want to get into streaming yourself. The good news is the process is fairly straightforward.
Facebook has a dedicated page to help you sign-up and join the Facebook Gaming Creators Community. This talks you through the process of getting started which includes:
- Signing up to join the Facebook Gaming Creators Community (to get early access to new features)
- Creating a gaming video creator page (or editing it to include “Gaming Video Creator” as a category under page info)
- Setting up the software using either Streamlabs OBS, OBS Studio Classic or Split
- Creating a scene in that software and getting all the settings right
- Visiting the creator dashboard to access your stream key and prepare the stream
- Going live!
Here’s a video showing you how to do it (as an example) with Streamlabs OBS:
There are also detailed guides on how to go live with your gameplay here.
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How to make money with Facebook Gaming
Aside from the fun of gaming as a hobby, you might be interested in getting into streaming on Facebook in order to make money. Like Twitch, gamers have a chance to monetise their gameplay streams in various ways. Where Twitch has an affiliate scheme with subs, bits and more, Facebook has its Level Up Program.
In order to be eligible for this program streamers need to meet certain criteria that include:
- Having at least 100 followers on your page
- Streaming content for at least four hours in a 14 day period
- Streaming on at least two days in that 14 day period
- Being active for at least 14 days
- Being 18 years or older
Once those criteria are met, you can visit your Creator Dashboard and apply for the Level Up Program.
It’s worth noting that the Level Up Program isn’t available worldwide, so it’s worth checking the current list of approved regions before you get started.
Once you’ve been approved to join the Level Up Progam you can monetise your stream. Viewers will be able to send you Facebook Stars. For every Star you’re sent, Facebook will pay you USD 0.01. In order to get paid, you need to earn at least 100 USD or 10,000 Stars. And you’ll need to set up your payout settings before that too.
As well as Stars, viewers of your stream can also send you animated, virtual gifts with differing Star values. Still, don’t start your Facebook Gaming career thinking you’ll be rich in a matter of weeks.
Find out more about all this via the Level Up Bootcamp.
Facebook Gaming on mobile
One of the other updates Facebook has made of late is the addition of the Facebook Gaming app. This app is designed to help gaming enthusiasts to more easily discover content, connect with other gamers and play casual games too.
1/ We know you’ve waited patiently. Well folks the day has come: we’re launching FarmVille in VR! j/k, sorry, kind mobs of Twitter, don’t @ us! We’re actually launching the Facebook Gaming app on Google Play.
Download NOW https://t.co/6wzoSRD3Gj pic.twitter.com/5YzVxmklHm
— Facebook Gaming #playaparttogether (@FacebookGaming) April 20, 2020
The app is much like the Twitch app in that it gives you the ability to easily access and watch videos from your favourite streamers. From within the app you can also comment on the streams as well as interact with Facebook groups and more.
If you’re so inclined, you can also start streaming from within the app too. This allows gamers to broadcast mobile gameplay easily with just a few clicks. This might be a broadcast of your Call of Duty mobile gameplay, PUBG mobile or something more casual. The choice is yours.
This app is just on Android for now, but is expected to come to iOS in the near future too.
Writing by Maggie Tillman and Adrian Willings. Editing by Max Freeman-Mills.