Facebook quietly added the ability to tip live streamers to its iOS and Android mobile apps late last week, allowing fans to support some of their favorite video game live streamers with donations.
The company first introduced tip jars for select video game live streamers in January, but at the time only permitted payment from its website. Back then, the company announced what it calls the Gaming Creator Pilot Program, which is designed to help Facebook compete more directly with Twitch and YouTube.
Part of that program is the tip jar for select participants, which director of games partnerships Guy Cross at the time painted as part of a bigger emphasis on monetization for gamers who live stream their content via Facebook. “We want our creators to make and sustain a living on Facebook,” he said back then.
As part of extending these kinds of tips to mobile, the company had to flag its apps on Apple’s App Store and Google Play for the ability to allow in-app purchases. This happened over the past few days, with Facebook’s iOS app now allowing purchases of $4.99 supporter packages. Facebook’s Android app on the other hand allows in-app purchases of $0.99 – $99.99 per item, according to its Google Play page.
In-app purchases like these are best known as a monetization mechanism for free-to-play mobile games, but have gained popularity across the board. App Analytics company Sensor Tower reported last week that the typical U.S. iPhone user spent an average of $58 on Apps in 2017, compared to $47 in 2016. That amount included both in-app purchases as well as paid apps.