Why we play

We believe gaming is a fundamentally human pursuit.
March 10, 2019

At Facebook, we believe gaming is a fundamentally human pursuit. That’s a slightly audacious claim, but it’s one backed by five millennia of human history — anyone up for a game of Senet? It turns out that we, as a species, simply love playing games. And for good reason, too, because games in general — and great games in particular — offer a microcosm of the human experience in fun, convenient doses.

Facebook Gaming PAX East 2018

They offer competition and community, rules and chance, as well as the opportunity to make believe. Games of all kinds, from pen-and-paper classics to the latest battle royale, have delivered slices of the human experience in different ways, and each explores the human arts in one way or another. We’re working hard to give the 2 billion people who use Facebook every month a place to discover games for themselves, build community with fellow players, and create amazing content along the way.

Press start: World 1-1

Facebook’s first step into gaming came with the arrival of the Facebook platform in 2007, and it soon redefined social play on a global scale, ultimately sparking the first generation of social games. Many titles across mobile, console, and PC gaming can be traced back to this one moment, and we haven't looked back since.

It wasn’t long before behaviors changed at scale, when everyday people — playing every day — started meeting online and pursuing very real relationships. Players weren’t tilling virtual plots, raiding virtual bases, or sending virtual lives in hopes of harvesting a soul mate, but in some cases, that's actually what happened. Gaming, regardless of platform and game style — whether console co-op, PC multiplayer, or turn-based play on mobile — is intrinsically social. And gaming on Facebook is fundamentally social in the same way that real life is, because real people, from good friends to online guests, are as essential to the experience as the in-game objective.

Level 1-2

In 2016, Facebook launched Instant Games on Facebook and Messenger for developers to build HTML5 cross-platform gaming experiences. Instant Games lets anyone discover, share, and play games instantly with their friends. Think of it as the second generation of playing games on Facebook. Since launch, we’ve continually improved the platform by adding tournament support and leaderboards, and by building innovative tools so that game developers can continue to do what they do best and serve the gaming community with world-class content. Today, the platform continues to grow, with over 20 billion game sessions logged to date, and we’re just getting started.

Gaming is not just about playing; it’s increasingly about creating, watching, and sharing. About a year ago, Facebook launched a partnered Gaming Creator Program to help live streamers build communities around the games they love, and followed it up with a Level Up program to help up-and-coming streamers get started. We also rolled out a new gaming video destination at, to make it easier for people to find and follow gaming content on Facebook.

Character select

We’re also hard at work making sure Facebook is a gaming community for all players. Last February, Facebook launched the Women in Gaming initiative, designed to champion and celebrate diversity in all aspects of gaming, from content creation to business leadership. Facebook is a place for women to innovate freely, share their stories and challenges, and make the global gaming community stronger. This new initiative is also designed to spotlight exceptional members of the community at industry events, such as E3, PAX, Gamescom, and the European Women in Games conference.

In order to encourage girls and young women to pursue careers in gaming, the Women in Gaming page has 20 video interviews highlighting women across various fields in gaming — and our goal is to increase the number of interviews to 100 before year’s end. And last December, Facebook partnered with the Game Awards on a new collaboration to recognize Global Gaming Citizens — pioneers in the community dedicated to positive change in the areas of accessibility, equality, and beyond, all through the power of games.

Next level

And we’ll need those pioneers, too. You can’t invent the future of gaming without the best community — and the future is where Facebook is placing its bets. With the release of Oculus Rift in 2016, Facebook took the first major step into a wildly innovative frontier: virtual reality. Since then, a growing community of VR creators and pioneers has worked to create a new era of experiential entertainment, block by virtual block. In May, we released Oculus Go, our first stand-alone VR headset, with more than 1,000 games and experiences available at launch. This spring, Facebook will introduce Oculus Quest, the world’s first all-in-one gaming system built for VR. Oculus Quest redefines immersive play through inside-out tracking technology, best-in-class optics, and Oculus Touch controllers that enable true hand presence.

Continue? Continue

We couldn’t be more excited about the future of gaming — and we’re invested in making that future inclusive, expansive, and fun. That’s always been part of our gaming DNA. We believe the only way to invent that future is to draw inspiration from the very community we’re here to support: gamers, everyday people who love to play. And we believe there’s a gamer in everyone.

We’re excited to be a part of the gaming community, and we can’t wait to press start on the future of play.