Facebook has begun a brave new initiative with its video features over the past few weeks, particularly with a partnership with Activision Blizzard to introduce the company’s Live video API into all its games, including the immensely popular Overwatch. Now the company’s video division could be making even bigger moves into the world of eSports.
TechCrunch recently reported that Facebook hired former pro League of Legends player and eSports superstar, Stephen “Snoopeh” Ellis, as the company’s new eSports strategic partnerships manager. His main role will be bringing in game developers and players to stream their content through Facebook to competing with established channels such as YouTube and Twitch.
Video streaming is a pretty big deal to gamers, as an estimated 459,000 years worth of content have been streamed on Twitch alone over the past year. It’s also been noted that users watch approximately 421 minutes of eSports-related content on a monthly basis through the service.
Facebook PR explained that Ellis will be “joining a collaborative effort between the sports and games partnership teams to support the eSports and gaming communities using our platform.”
Obviously, Facebook has a long way to go before catching up with Twitch and YouTube’s gaming initiatives, but a plan could very well be forming to introduce its own gaming initiative. Considering Ellis’ connections with the eSports world (with fans, sponsors and fellow players) he could be an immense help in making it happen. Fan bases could become more attracted to the network, bringing in more streaming personalities, and better possibilities for partnerships like Activision Blizzard’s game integration.
Facebook has an extremely high video count—eight billion and rising as of November 2015—and gaming could play a huge part in continuing its growth. It’s just a matter of when, not if, Facebook Gaming becomes official.