With the success of Hearthstone and Overwatch — oh, and a little thing called World of Warcraft, the film adaptation for which premieres in Los Angeles today — Blizzard seems interested in further expanding its potential customer base by letting players log in to its games with their Facebook accounts.
Now, this by itself isn’t very exciting. A lot of games and net services connect with Facebook, most of them in fairly innocuous ways, others not so much. That Blizzard is expanding its games and Battle.net network to include the API isn’t too terribly surprising, considering the popularity of its titles.
No, what’s most interesting here is that Facebook is presently dipping its toe into the streaming market, for which Twitch is presently the go-to source — and it wants to extend streaming to Blizzard’s games, with simple push-button functionality. As it’s currently being presented, players will be able to simply activate a “Go Live” button from inside the game to start streaming to Facebook. While there’s no release window for this feature, Blizzard executive VP Gio Hunt says the game studio is “working closely with Facebook on this integration for Overwatch” in particular.
Overwatch is currently pretty popular on Twitch, though it hasn’t cracked the Big Four. Still, creating a convenient pipeline between Blizzard’s games and Facebook could convince a considerable number of players to switch to Facebook as a streaming platform, which could give it a notable boost in traffic (and thus, revenue). So it will be interesting to see what Overwatch‘s numbers are like when the feature goes live, and how seamlessly Blizzard and Facebook are able to draw streamers to the latter’s platform. It can’t be too difficult — every one in seven people on the surface of the Earth has a Facebook account — but whether the adoption rate will be enough to satisfy both companies is another question.