Facebook Gaming

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Facebook Gaming App Poster Image
Ad-free but mature Twitch competitor has language issues.

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Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The controls aren't completely intuitive, which can result in some frustration.

Violence

Some games are M-rated. Players may want to be careful of exactly what streams they access to avoid inappropriate content.

Sex

Sexual content in games could be seen, and user comments could be too provocative for younger viewers. 

Language

Users will hear "f--k," "s--t," and other obscenities during games and see similar phrases texted in the chat window. Misogynistic comments.

Consumerism

Viewers can "tip" the players with stars/in-app purchases. Ad-free experience.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Players could mention alcohol, tobacco, or drugs as they play. Comments are unmoderated and often mention substance use. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Facebook Gaming is a game streaming app for Android devices. The app is designed to pit 
Facebook against established competitors like Twitch and YouTube. Users can stream themselves playing games or watch others play, commenting and joining in a community and "tipping" players with stars, which can be redeemed for cash. Notably, this is an ad-free experience, so players won't be interrupted during streams or when they switch from one stream to the next. Viewers can watch any game that's being streamed, so younger kids who venture in could see M-rated titles. And the chats are often filled with insults, profanity, sexual comments, and messages about substances. There isn't any moderation during these streams, so the intensity and inappropriate comments will vary. The app is currently Android only, but it will soon be released for iOS devices. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written bycreativeusername1 April 25, 2020

Why is this being reviewed?

Alright. So this is a place where you can post live streams of videogames. Its fine but no competition for mixer or twitch. To anyone saying it has a language p... Continue reading

What's it about?

FACEBOOK GAMING lets you watch friends, strangers, or professional gamers stream themselves as they play pretty much any video game on their phone or other platform. This can range from from high-profile console games to more casual Facebook titles. Users are encouraged to comment and join a community of other fans and, often, to donate "stars" -- app-specific coins that let streamers monetize their play sessions. You can follow any streamer, getting alerts when they're online, or you can choose to follow a game, which will offer you a variety of streams to let you learn more playing techniques. Users can also stream themselves playing games by pressing the "Go Live" button -- and invite others to play with them. 

Is it any good?

Facebook is a bit late to the game streaming category, since Twitch and YouTube both have established fan bases, but with its enormous user base, it could quickly become a contender. Facebook Gaming checks all the boxes, letting gamers watch and comment on other people's streams. It also lets them join a community or stream themselves playing and try to earn some extra cash from fans in the process. That said, it doesn't offer any notable new/innovative features. And the app's layout isn't as intuitive or easy to use as you'd expect from the social media giant. 

Watching a stream is easy. The app offers a scrollable list of games that are being broadcast, as well as ones that were recently played by both users' friends and popular streamers. You'll see everything from the Facebook quizzes that are so popular (i.e. "Which rock star are you?") to high-profile titles like Grand Theft Auto V. The streams are smooth and easy to follow, but the live comments are right out of the Wild West. Some people are friendly and want to watch and learn. Others come to make trouble (and can be especially misogynistic to female streamers). Obscene language is frequent, both in the games being played and by the players and commenters. Facebook Gaming is certain to take off and become a big player in the game streaming market, but, for now at least, it feels a bit duplicative rather than groundbreaking. It has all of the features you'd want, but there's nothing that will make you want to desert one of the other platforms if you're already a fan.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Should streaming services have explicit age controls to regulate who can watch games with mature content? Should streams be prevented from changing from non-violent to violent games mid-broadcast?

  • What kinds of things should you never say online, especially if you're being streamed to a worldwide audience?

  • How does Facebook Gaming compare to other streaming services? Do you think you'd use this more than other sites like Twitch or Discord? Why or why not?

App details

  • Device: Android
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: April 20, 2020
  • Category: Social Networking
  • Publisher: Facebook Inc.
  • Version: 81.0.0.22.0
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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