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(Pocket-lint) - Facebook has been ogling the multitudes of viewers enjoyed daily by streamers on platforms like Twitch, YouTube and Mixer for some time, it would seem. It's now used the ongoing global situation as a reason to bring forward the launch of its own streaming app, Facebook Gaming.

The app releases today for Android smartphones, with an iOS release apparently due to follow once Apple approves it, ahead of its original schedule to accommodate the changing habits of people who have a lot more time on their hands for at-home viewing. 

It effectively lets you access Facebook's new range of streams without having to do so through the standard Facebook interface or website, if you know what you want. 

The Gaming app will also let gamers stream straight from their phones, interestingly, broadcasting their screen recordings live - a step that should make it super easy for many people to stream themselves playing mobile games. YouTube's own screen-sharing system requires users to have 1,000 subscribers at least, a barrier that Facebook hasn't mirrored.

Going Live

The key to this will apparently be a prominent "Go Live" button encouraging people to do just that, breaking down the barrier between streamers and viewers. 

This marks a step-up for Facebook Gaming, which has been around for some time as a subsection of Facebook. Indeed, as part of Facebook's ongoing design overhaul, the Gaming tab has also been given a far more central location by default, on the navigation bar alongside Home, Watch and Marketplace. 

You can download the Facebook Gaming app from the Google Play store now to give it a try yourself - it's been being tested for some time in territories including Latin America, but should now be more widely available. 

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Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Originally published on 20 April 2020.