Facebook has recently announced that they are going to be adding a brand new extension to the Facebook brand, under the ‘Facebook Gaming’ umbrella. Named ‘Tournaments’, this brand new extension of the Facebook brand will allow users to create, enter, and run their very own esports tournaments.
The new Facebook Gaming Tournament feature was designed to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for everything that an event organizer needs when they are setting up their own tournament, but also a way of bringing together a community in a time where distancing is more important than ever.
Facebook itself said that one of the key reasons that it is putting together this platform for the gaming community is that ‘games can bring us together’, so this early access launch may well be in part due to the Coronavirus compelling people to stay indoors.
So, while nations across the globe make sure to stay isolated it seems like Facebook is bringing a way for gamers to get together and enjoy their hobby in spite of the lockdown. But what does this mean for esports in general?
What Does This Mean For Esports?
The first thing it could mean is a general shift in the overall watching habits of gamers in general who enjoy esports. At the time of writing, Twitch holds the current market dominance when it comes to hosting major esports events, and its commonplace for games like Fortnite, League of Legends and CS:GO all receiving over 100,000 concurrent viewers at any one time.
With this figure in mind, its important to remember that Facebook is going to be tackling a market that it currently has no major sway or hold over – but that isn’t to say they have underestimated its importance.
In 2018 Facebook secured the rights to stream a small number of ESL’s major gaming tournaments live in an exclusivity deal that seemed to shock a percentage of esports fans – and upset some others who weren’t happy with the platform change. So, when in 2019 Facebook doubled down on their deal with ESL and agreed to a coverage plan that allowed for the unexclusive streaming of all the ESL gaming events, it seemed to prove that Facebook has had their eye on creating an esports centered experience for a while now.
But, the new Facebook Gaming Tournaments feature seems to take things a step further for the larger esports audience – allowing them to host their own and join in on gaming tournaments all over the world. In the long run, this could have a dramatic effect on competitive gaming for two main reasons.
The first is that it could allow for amateur players to join in on larger tournaments without having to prove themselves in general first or having to be affiliated with a professional team. This is, of course, assuming that there is a decent level of anti-cheat technology in place, and some kind of screening system also implemented to deter griefers or trolls.
The second way in which it could have a profound effect on the gaming audience is that we could see a dramatic rise in amateur players hosting their own tournaments and gaining notoriety within the scene, without actually taking part in official tournaments. The knock-on effect of this could also be dramatic, with more gamers becoming interested in the esports scene without having to get involved in complicated signup processes
What's Possible With Facebook Gaming Tournaments?
Right now Facebook has announced that the medium will be available on both the iOS Facebook App, the Android Facebook app and the desktop Facebook app.
Players are currently able to create three separate game types within Facebook Gaming Tournaments, with Single Elimination (a game type where every round results in an elimination), Double Elimination (where eliminated participants get an extra chance to win the tournament), and Round Robin (where everyone gets a match against everyone else). Facebook has stated that they will be supporting both singles and team tournaments and that they are planning to implement the Swiss format of the tournament, whilst remaining open to other types of competition in the future.
One question that is coming up a lot is ‘can I take part in a Facebook Gaming Tournament without a Facebook profile?’ and the answer is; yes. The tournament organizer can apparently invite players via their Gamertag, allowing them to take place in the tournament itself.
Whilst there is still a lot to be discovered about Facebook’s newest gaming platform, we are only yet in the early access level of availability. Facebook themselves have asked users to help build out the app itself, so if you want to be a part of Facebook’s newest gaming developments then be sure to get in early to have your say!