A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
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
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
Our editors recommend
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.