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Facebook launches gaming tab as a shortcut to gamer culture

Facebook is launching a new way to view gaming content on the social network: the Facebook Gaming tab. The tab is in its initial rollout today to tens of millions of people, and that will expand to more people in the coming weeks.

Last year, Facebook announced a redesign to the mobile app navigation bar on Facebook for people to get personalized shortcuts to the products they use most often. The Facebook Gaming tab is one of those shortcuts, said Vijaye Raji, vice president of gaming at Facebook in an interview with GamesBeat.

“Gaming is pretty huge on Facebook, with 700 million people on our platform,” said Raji. “They play games, watch each other play games, or build communities in groups.”

As an example, the Pokémon Go group in Seattle will share screen shots of their latest catches and go to outings in parks. Facebook will describe the game community features next week at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Facebook’s Leo Olebe and Oculus’ Jason Rubin will also speak at our upcoming GamesBeat Summit 2019 event in Los Angeles on April 23-24.

“This is the kind of community we want to foster and grow on Facebook, true to our overall mission,” Raji said. The social network has 105 million monthly active users who are using more than 300,000 gaming groups. “We’ve noticed how diffused this gaming community is.”

Above: Facebook Gaming Tab demo

Image Credit: Facebook

Sometimes these gamers get their information on News Feed, sometimes they do it in groups, and sometimes they have special pages around a particular community, game, or streamer.

The whole idea behind the Facebook Gaming tab is to make it easier to find information. In one place, you can play games, watch gaming videos, connect with gaming groups, and discover new things you can engage with. The tab appears at the bottom of the screen on mobile devices.

“This is a dedicated gaming hub,” Raji said. “It’s an easy way to aggregate gaming content.”

Eligibility for receiving the Facebook Gaming tab is determined based on how often you interact with gaming content on a monthly basis: playing games on Facebook, watching gaming videos, or participating in gaming groups.

For people who don’t have the new Gaming tab on their home nav bar, it is available in the Games bookmark in the bookmarks menu on the Facebook app. You can do things like follow a streamer and subscribe to that streamer’s feed for a monthly fee. When they go live, you are notified. If you have a turn to play in a game, you get a notification.

The experience in the Facebook Gaming tab brings together a lot of the initiatives the Facebook Gaming team has been working on over the last few years. For example, Facebook started building this initially with gaming video back in June, when it announced fb.gg; the ability to play games is powered by the Instant Games platform which opened for all developers last year at GDC 2018 (news here); gaming videos in the Gaming tab are from streamers in our partnered gaming creator program, which we started in January of last year, in addition to esports organizations and gaming publishers.

Facebook did an initial test of a gaming video destination last year. Facebook is also continuing to beta test a standalone Facebook Gaming app on Android, which includes more features than you’ll find in the Facebook Gaming tab.

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