Will Facebook become the home of esports streams?

Edit: Since publishing this story we have been informed that Super Evil Megacorp has an exclusive deal in place with Twitch. It was stated: “While Super Evil finds Facebook an interesting emerging streaming platform for other forms of broadcasting like community tournaments, dev streams, short-form content, etc., it’s incorrect to say Super Evil and Facebook are currently in discussions.”

Facebook is said to be in discussions with Super Evil Megacorp, in a bid to bring more esports to its platform.

The company is seemingly thinking of ways to bolster its Facebook Live feature which went live last year. Super Evil Megacorp is the developer of popular mobile title Vainglory and with Amazon recently discussing its belief that streaming of casual games will take off in the near future, Facebook appears to be of a similar mindset in regards to planning for, and facilitating, this. 

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As reported by The Information, Super Evil Megacorp COO Kristian Segerstrale said that nothing had been set in stone it has had “extensive conversations” with Facebook. 

Amazon’s Head of Esports Marketing and Partnerships Brian Hong said at the Esports and Casino Resorts conference last week: “What we’ll see going forward is more streaming of casual games. We want to tap into this and enhance and increase our influencer program and reach. Into 2017, there will be more and more people playing casual games competitively.”

Vainglory is one of the largest competitive titles on mobile right now, and Twitch’s Head of Esports Operation Nick Allen stated earlier this year: “Vainglory’s popularity on Twitch has skyrocketed. With 150 million minutes viewed, it was the fastest growing mobile game on Twitch in 2015.”

Whilst Amazon may be focusing its efforts on mobile esports, it’s its Twitch arm, which the company acquired for little short of $1 billion in 2014, that will be Facebook’s main contender should it enter the world of esports streams. 

With two billion monthly users, streaming on Facebook has the potential to reach a mass audience for esports as a whole should one of these deals become reality. It’s mostly speculation and hearsay at this point of course, but it would make sense for Facebook to invest in esports as it has done across a variety of tech platforms in the past year. 

Facebook has indulged in esports in the past with Call of Duty content, courtesy of a deal with its developer Activision Blizzard, being broadcast in June of this year. In August the Blizzard Streaming feature also went live. In addition the company stepped ups its involvement with gaming in general yesterday with the official announcement of Gameroom. This is its competitor to Valve’s Steam, with the tagline ‘Discover a better place to play’. You can read more about this here

Esports Insider says: The entrance of another major player into esports would be huge. Whether Twitch could hold onto its streamers and viewers if Zuckerberg and co. came knocking with a well designed product is questionable indeed.