Facebook Tackles Video Game Streaming with Blizzard Entertainment.

Blizzard StreamingStream your gameplay live to Facebook right from the Blizzard client!

Blizzard Streaming is now available in the Americas, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, with global access coming soon. Watch for more details.

Posted by Blizzard on Friday, August 26, 2016

Posted by Blizzard on Friday, August 26, 2016

Facebook’s intention of becoming a video-centric platform has been widely circulated for some time now, seen through its carbon copy of Snapchat’s story function being introduced to Instagram and its high school data mining initiative called “Lifestage”.

Facebook recently rolled out the “Live” hotkey button on its mobile app, which began to replace the Status button on devices everywhere on the 24th of August. The Live button made it infinitely easier and more accessible for regular users to steam live from their phones. The hassle of production equipment was done away with and the spontaneous nature of the feature is spurred on by mitigating data or bandwidth usage.

The most recent initiative — made public and available on the 26th of August — is Facebook’s partnership with Blizzard Entertainment.

Blizzard Entertainment is the gaming titan responsible for franchises such as WarCraft, which was recently adapted into a film. Its catalogue of games, ranging from World of Warcraft to Diablo 3 to Overwatch — all of which are extremely spectator friendly and have an immense e-sports following — are now able to be streamed instantly on Facebook’s platform.

Why Video Game streaming? Well, the numbers don’t lie.

According to data from 2015, 1.7 million people broadcast game streams every month on Twitch, the Amazon-owned video game streaming platform. A further 100 million people tune into these streams and watch regularly.

In addition, arguably the most famous internet personality and influencer, Felix “Pewdiepie” Kjellberg, has turned himself into a lucrative business off the back of video game streaming. He currently earns over 7.5 million a year and runs the most subscribed to channel on YouTube.

With the rise in popularity and spectatorship of eSports tournaments all over the world, it makes perfect sense that Facebook would work in tandem with Blizzard to bring gaming to a broader scale and audience.

The partnership is mutually beneficial. Blizzard is able to utilize Facebook’s unparalleled user network and audience base, furthering the company’s popularity and earning free publicity for its games. Meanwhile, the new initiative allows Facebook to legitimize itself as a growing video platform, all while tapping into the extremely profitable gaming market.

But what does all of this mean for Facebook and marketers alike?

The launch of Blizzard’s video game streaming platform has a number of implications, particularly within the Influencer sphere.

Blizzard Streaming essentially democratizes the act of streaming; by making the process extremely user friendly and doing away with expensive production, regular players are able to stream their own content to their immediate network or Facebook as a whole. This gives rise to new, undiscovered talent and personalities who may make an impact in the influencer sphere in the future.

Meanwhile, established gaming influencers are now faced with the challenge of increased competition, which will perhaps inspire them to create more engaging content. The adoption of Blizzard Streaming is a no brainer for established influencers, as they are able to bolster their viewership through Facebook’s gargantuan platform, which has a user base that topples the numbers of Twitch. Better content and more viewers will only lead to the growth in stature of gaming influencers.

Though seemingly innocuous at first glance — much like Facebook’s introduction of the “Live” button on mobile devices — this further democratization of streaming presents a number of opportunities for both influencers and brands to grow together and to share their unique stories on the premiere social network.

It will be interesting to watch Facebook introduce further initiatives as it establishes itself as a video platform in the upcoming months.

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