Blizzard's Facebook streaming feature rolls into beta
Facebook feeds seem overrun with videos these days, but now a new kind of post is starting to creep in among the engagement announcements and cute animal videos.
Last month, Blizzard announced it was teaming up with Facebook to integrate livestreaming directly through its Battle.net app. This new feature would give players the option to press a button while playing Hearthstone, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, or one of the developer’s other titles, and start broadcasting their gameplay to their friends and followers on the social media network. On Thursday night, beta invites were sent out for Blizzard Streaming, and since then streams of Blizzard games have slowly been popping up on Facebook.
“Don’t just regale your friends and family with thrilling tales of your online adventures,” Blizzard’s invite email states. “Now you can invite them to watch you in action!”
To “go live” all you have to do is click on the Streaming button on the top right of the Battle.net launcher, and input your Facebook details to give Blizzard access to post. You also have the option to make your microphone and camera hot so viewers can hear and see you. If you’re already in game and decide you want to stream, using the control + F1 hotkey will apparently start the stream automatically.
The feature has only rolled out to select players that are opted into beta testing for Blizzard, with no word yet on when it will be released for everyone. But the bigger question here is whether Blizzard Streaming will be able to compete with the likes of Twitch and YouTube Gaming.
While having microphone and camera access is a great step towards making the feature more accessible and appealing, one of the best parts about streaming on other sites is the ability to use custom overlays, notifications, and setting up a donation jar—features which add to the polish and professoinalism of a broadcast, and help people earn a living off streaming.
Shortly after the invites went out, former professional League of Legends player Stephen “Snoopeh” Ellis (who now works for Facebook) went live on his page, playing Overwatch for everyone to see. The comments were overall fairly positive and his stream vod has now reached more 11,000 views.
With Blizzard games geared more towards all-ages access, the ability to stream live gameplay on Facebook could see the emergence of a new way to keep in touch with family and friends, rather than the Blizzard Streaming feature being geared more as a Twitch and YouTube Gaming competitor.