Facebook Live was extended to verified pages in December 2015, and users started getting access to the feature via desktops and laptops as early as last September. Starting Wednesday, it is available globally.
Product manager Erin Connolly and engineering manager Jeff Hendy said in a Newsroom post that users can click “Live Video” from the top of their News Feeds or Timelines, and then add descriptions and determine who will be able to see their livestreams.
Connolly and Hendy mentioned question-and-answer sessions, vlogs, tutorials and basically any broadcasts by users not on the move as possible uses for Facebook Live via desktop, but a group they touched on later in their post, gamers, may be the ripest audience for this feature.
The ability to livestream gaming sessions might also be seen as an attempt by the social network to carve into a niche currently dominated by Twitch and, to a lesser extent, YouTube.
Connolly and Hendy detailed the extension of the ability to use streaming software or external hardware—previously available only to pages—to all users:
We’ve also added a new feature that makes it easy to use streaming software or external hardware when going live from a computer. This capability previously was possible only through a page, but we’ve heard feedback from our community that it would be useful for profiles, too.
With this update, people can seamlessly share their screens, insert graphics, switch cameras or use professional equipment in Facebook Live videos. They also have the option to broadcast to Facebook groups they belong to, Facebook events they’re part of or Facebook pages they manage.
If you’re a gamer, this new feature makes it easier than ever to stream your PC gameplay to friends and followers and engage with them while you play. If you’re giving your friends or followers a tutorial or how-to guide, you can incorporate on-screen graphics, titles and overlays. Or if you’re an artist, you can go live and switch seamlessly between cameras as you narrate the process.
Finally, Connolly and Hendy provided a link to a step-by-step guide on going live by using streaming software, as well as the direct link for doing so.