Facebook is stepping up its efforts to compete with Twitch and YouTube for video game streaming: The company is now offering select video gamers a chance to monetize their game-play live streams on Facebook by giving their audience a way to tip them as part of a test of new monetization options.
The payment feature is part of a new gaming creator pilot program, which Facebook announced officially Friday. “We want our creators to make and sustain a living on Facebook,” said director of games partnerships Guy Cross.
The program also includes the ability for gamers to stream their gameplay in smooth 1080p with 60fps, and Facebook is looking to add distribution of videos to other company properties, including Oculus and Instagram.
Facebook quietly began the pilot program with a few dozen gamers over the past couple of months. “We are now scaling to a much bigger number than that,” said Cross. “We are signing up new gaming creators every single day.” And with the official announcement, Facebook is giving gamers the ability to sign up for a wait-list online.
As part of this staggered roll-out, Facebook has also been testing fan payment option for video game streamers since December. “The early results have been positive,” said Cross. He added that Facebook didn’t make a decision on a possible revenue split for these kinds of payments yet.
Asked how Facebook aims to differentiate its game live streaming efforts from competitors like Twitch and YouTube, gaming creator program lead John Imah responded that the company had a unique advantage because of its strong social fabric. Likening esports to traditional sports, he said: “It’s great to go to a stadium, but it’s even better sitting in that stadium next to 5 of your friends.”