The tech behemoth is aware of its reputation. “We are taking that approach of introducing ourselves politely, showing up … and just respectfully delivering results,” Vivek Sharma, head of Facebook Gaming, told CNN Business.
Hours watched is one of the most common metrics for measuring a livestreaming platform’s popularity and success, indicating to advertisers and onlookers just how many millions of people are on the platform with money to spend on content creators through subscriptions and donations.
Analysts and competitors alike have reflected on what they’ve learned about the strategy of throwing money to attract the most popular creators. Mixer’s fate proved that fans don’t
“We don’t really go and chase after big names because we don’t think this is a purely content business,” said Sharma. “If you do think it’s a purely content business you end up becoming sorely disappointed, because often the numbers don’t come.”
Acquiring talent can still be an effective strategy for other platforms like YouTube, but building a community is also important, said Doron Nir, CEO of livestreaming services provider StreamElements.
“I just don’t think that dumping $20 million or $30 million [on talent] is a silver bullet,” he said. “There are no silver bullets.”
“We feel very proud that our number is large but we’re not just empty calories on our way to success, we’re not just adding more random eyeballs. We’re actually deepening the engagement,” said Sharma.
For the first time, Facebook is breaking down what those 700 million plus people are doing: More than 380 million of them play games such as “Farmville” each month, and 200 million watch gaming livestreams. Some 230 million participate in gaming groups. Some of these people are doing more than one activity so they may be counted multiple times.
About 120 to 130 game creators initially rejected overtures from Facebook Gaming but eventually moved after seeing others successfully do so. Sharma said, although he declined to share how many Mixer streamers moved to Facebook.
After Mixer shut down, Twitch streamer Ninja, the biggest star on the platform, surprised his viewers with a YouTube livestream before later returning to Twitch as well. He has not announced an exclusive contract with either platform.
“We welcome any content from him,” YouTube’s global head of gaming Ryan Wyatt wrote in an email, adding that “engagement is up across the board” during the pandemic. YouTube Gaming has 200 million daily active users, and did not have monthly data to share. The overall YouTube platform has 2 billion logged in users every month.