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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ official streams ditch Twitch for Facebook Live

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Facebook is the new home for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds live video content from the Bluehole game studio. It announced today that it is planning four broadcasts a month on its Facebook page, and that starts at 7 Pacific (10 p.m. Eastern) tonight. Battlegrounds will still have a presence on other sites, like Twitch, through community streamers, but Bluehole is moving its official content to the world’s largest social media platform.

For the Facebook Live videos, the studio is planning to host games that show off different elements of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Each broadcast will start with a Bluehole community manager, but it plans to bring in community creators to run the livestreams as well. While Twitch has a more engaged audience of dedicated gamers, Facebook has a potentially broader audience. It’s difficult to say how those differences would affect the reach of a live broadcast on Facebook, but with Battlegrounds already saturating Twitch, Bluehole may just want to focus its efforts on different demographic groups.

“This new initiative with Facebook will bring our passionate fan base closer to our development team,” Bluehole executive producer Chang Han Kim said in a canned statement. “Livestreaming has been very important to the growth of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. We believe that featuring PUBG livestreamers on Facebook further strengthens our commitment to the community while extending the reach of our game to a global audience.”

The studio specifically built Battlegrounds with live audiences in mind. In an interview with GamesBeat, Bluehole global business developer Woonghee Cho explained that viewers are one of the company’s most important consumer groups. That turned into huge popularity on Twitch, where hundreds of thousands of people watch Battlegrounds content every day. Bluehole even embraced Amazon’s livestreaming service with a promotion that would give players special cosmetic items if they connected their Twitch accounts to Battlegrounds.

It seemed like that initiative was going to lead into built-in Twitch functionality in Battlegrounds — something that helped bolster the popularity of the last-man-standing game H1Z1: King of the Kill from Daybreak Game Company. But Bluehole has pulled the plug on that event, and it is now all-in with Facebook.

“Facebook and the Bluehole team have a shared belief in the power of gaming communities, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is a stunning example of a hit game guided directly by its fans,” Facebook game partnership boss Leo Olebe said in a statement. “Battlegrounds is just as much fun to watch as it is to play, and we’re excited to see some of the best PUBG creators bring exclusive content to Facebook to help fuel its growing community on the platform.”

Facebook has a growing importance when it comes to live gaming content. While Twitch and YouTube are both massive and important when it comes to community-created video, Facebook is starting to look like a smart destination for developers and publishers that want to reach out to their fans in a way that won’t get drowned out by Amazon’s and Google’s far more crowded platforms.

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