Facebook lets you tip game live streamers $3+

Facebook Live is launching monetization for video gameplay streamers, allowing users to tip creators a minimum of $3 via the desktop site. Right now, the contributor of the tips doesn’t get any special call-out or privileges, though Facebook tells me it’s considering different options for creators and gamers. For instance, it could have a special emoji Reaction float across the stream as a way to thank the fan who gave money.

The amount Facebook will keep from these tips that it calls “fan support” isn’t clear yet, but the company tells me that it’s safe to assume there will be a revenue share. Apparently it’s too early to lock any percentage in, though Facebook has taken a 30 percent cut from game developers in the past, and currently takes a 45 percent share of ad revenue from people who place ad breaks in the videos, so it could be in that ballpark.

The monetization opportunity comes as part of Facebook’s new gaming creator pilot program, that tomorrow will start admitting a slew of influencers with high follower counts. Goals of the program include helping gamers of all fame levels grow meaningful and engaged communities of followers across Facebook, Instagram and Oculus, plus providing monetization tools.

Gamers who want to join the program and gain access to tipping on their streams can sign up to apply here. There’s also a big site full of best-practices for gamers who want to grow their audience amidst Facebook’s ever-changing News Feed algorithm.

Facebook hopes to pull game streamers away from YouTube and Twitch where they have ad revenue, tipping and subscription options to monetize. For reference, YouTube takes a 30 percent rake from its Super Chat tipping and Sponsorships subscription payments options, while Twitch also takes 30 percent from its Cheering tipping option.

The push aligns with Facebook’s recent overhaul of its News Feed with a focus on well-being and active interaction over passive media consumption. Game streams often see viewers chiming in about what they want the creator to do next while debating tactics and joking around with fellow viewers. That gives people a better sense of connection than just watching random eye-catching throwaway videos in the feed. It’s the same reason Facebook just inked exclusive deals to stream big esports tournaments, like CS:GO.

If Facebook can lure creators with its 2 billion-plus user audience and virality, plus its new payment system, it could develop a wide array of video content for video game enthusiasts to watch. It’s a highly monetizable demographic that watches a ton of video, so Facebook could use gaming as a way to pull them into its wider content ecosystem.