Blizzard has recently announced that it will be adding Facebook functionality to many of its games for the PC, including Overwatch, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, World of Warcraft, Diablo 3, Heroes of the Storm and Starcraft 2.
The feature will allow players to log in to Blizzard games using their Facebook accounts. In addition, players will be able to broadcast their games through Facebook Live, with users able to watch their friends play through live-streamed footage and post real-time comments.
The move is seen as a challenge posed by Facebook on Twitch and YouTube, which are the current leaders of the video game streaming industry. Twitch, owned by Amazon and currently boasting a user base of 100 million, has a reason to be concerned, as there are 650 million users playing Facebook-linked games.
Video game streaming on Facebook Live will first have to catch up to the years of development that Twitch has already spent on its product. Twitch also features a dedicated interface, monetization options to video creators in the form of subscriptions and advertisements and a bustling community of video game fans.
At the very start, though, Facebook will be able to offer streamers with view counts that could reach new heights due to the much more massive user base of the social network.
Facebook has already started its foray into live video game streaming, with the social network hosting sessions of Heroes of the Dorm, which are college-based tournaments for Heroes of the Storm, along with launch events for Overwatch.
In addition to the streaming launch events, Facebook worked with Blizzard for Overwatch's social media marketing on the social network and Instagram, sending out word about the game to Facebook's 1.65 billion users and Instagram's 400 million users.
The partnership with Blizzard is also likely not the only video game integration for Facebook, with more titles and video game companies soon coming to the social network.
Twitch has been steadily releasing new features, including the latest one, which allows users to easily send and share clips from their favorite streams. However, it will now be up against a formidable challenger in Facebook, and it would need much more than new features to battle back against the new entrant.