Many of you will have no idea of what I’m talking about, but yesterday Facebook made a lot of noise in my part of the world. Activision Blizzard have done a deal with the social media giant to allow players to ‘stream’ playing computer games such as Hearthstone and World of Warcraft directly using the Facebook Live API. I’ll be honest, I had no idea what this was until yesterday lunchtime: now I’ve signed up for updates. Now, there are those of you who will know that I refuse point blank to have anything to do with the ‘Friends and Family’ aspect of the platform. In fact, I deleted my personal Facebook some time ago. However, my ‘gaming’ site remains and suddenly looks an awful lot more attractive as an advertising platform for someone like me: more flexibility than You Tube, a better set of abuse controls than Twitch will ever possess. Mostly, it will become an amazing place to sell yourself.
That alone is the potential that many people will now be considering with something close to mercenary zeal.
It is an indicator of the general barometer of opinion that many people won’t see Facebook as anything else other than a place where you share baby photos or argue about politics. They won’t be able to reconcile ‘streaming live video’ (whether it be of an online MMO, a live event or indeed your Aunt Mabel baking her famous Chocolate Cake) with a platform that makes its money from ads about losing belly fat or ’15 Things you Never knew a Goat could Do.’ With platforms such as Snapchat and WhatsApp being bigger draws than text-based mediums such as Twitter, Facebook will know that to keep themselves in the frame they need to offer the best of both whilst maintaining their ability to market at the same time. By providing gamers a live video stream without any of the start up required in other formats, which often require additional effort or outlay? Frankly, it’s a license to print money.
There will be people already rubbing their hands together in glee.
Of course, many people assume that ‘logging into Warcraft’ using Facebook means they’ll be no choice in the matter, but assuming that this development is equivalent to what the developer did with Twitter? You’ll never have to worry about the thing unless you make a decision to stream. Unless you make a conscious choice to share your information? Nothing changes. However, such is the distrust of certain sections of the planet with the organisation, it won’t matter how many times you tell players this, they’ll still choose not to believe you. In the end, that’s just a product of the world we live in. My Facebook ‘page’ which is just that, just a piece of stuff attached to an account I never use and won’t post to, full of stuff that has no interest to me whatsoever. That’s not going to change any time soon. I’m not linking my family to this, or asking the people I know who don’t play games to take part.
However, in terms of long-term marketing for (lets say) me writing a book and maybe getting it published? Then I might be interested. I could be pushed into streaming and perhaps the odd Video Blog. The potential is certainly there for the platform.
Now we have to see just how good it is when the Real World gets hold of it.