Facebook Introduces Mobile Gaming App on Google Play

Facebook Gaming launches a standalone gaming app globally on Google Play.
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Facebook  (FB) - Get Report said Monday that it launched a standalone gaming app globally on Google Play, as the social-media giant looks to stake a place in the videogame arena.

Shares of the Menlo Park, Calif., company at last check were down slightly to $178.56.

This is a fast-growing online sector in which Facebook is competing with Amazon's  (AMZN) - Get Report Twitch, Google’s  (GOOGL) - Get Report YouTube and Microsoft’s  (MSFT) - Get Report Mixer services.

Facebook said more than 700 million of its 2.5 billion monthly users are already engaged with gaming content.

"We’ve already seen more than 5 million installs of the Facebook Gaming app on Google Play since fall 2018," the company said in a statement. "Last week, Facebook opened up pre-registration for people to get notified when the Facebook Gaming app launches in their region and has so far seen more than 100K people sign up." 

The global shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic has sparked a boom in the $160 billion global gaming business. 

Facebook originally intended to release the app in June but accelerated its plans as the coronavirus quarantine’s scope became clear,the company said. Versions for Apple's  (AAPL) - Get Report iOS will be released once the Cupertino, Calif., company approves them.

While Facebook was a top gaming platform a decade ago, the company hasn’t been a dominant force in recent years. In the game-streaming market, Facebook is No. 3 in total hours watched, behind YouTube and Twitch, according to Streamlabs. 

The new app includes casual games and access to gaming communities. A function called Go Live lets users upload streams of other mobile games on the same device.

The social-media company said last week that it's taking more proactive steps to mitigate coronavirus-related misinformation on Facebook.