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DisguisedToast, a top Twitch streamer, is moving to Facebook Gaming

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Facebook enters the live-streaming wars

The word Facebook in white against a blue background. Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Jeremy “DisguisedToast” Wang, a 27-year-old Hearthstone and Teamfight Tactics streamer from Canada with more than a million followers on Twitch, is now streaming exclusively on Facebook Gaming, and his first stream is set for today at 3PM ET. It’s Facebook’s first big streamer acquisition, and it showcases the company’s ambitions: by decisively entering the bidding war for streaming talent, Facebook is making it clear that it isn’t content to leave streaming to Amazon and Microsoft. The talent acquisition wars between Twitch, Mixer, YouTube — and now Facebook — are just beginning.

Wang’s streaming career began in 2015 on YouTube, where he wore a cardboard toast mask (with a mustache drawn on it) and uploaded videos about Blizzard’s lore. After he accidentally revealed his face on a stream, Wang’s popularity soared. (The name “DisguisedToast” comes from the sound effect that plays when a specific card is played in Hearthstone.)

For Wang, the move to Facebook means that he’ll be able to access a larger, more global audience. “One of my favorite things about streaming is that I get to engage with viewers from across the world,” said DisguisedToast in a press release. “My move to Facebook Gaming will give me a larger platform to share my voice with a global audience and hear their perspectives on the gaming landscape.” As Gene Park notes at The Washington Post, Wang teased the move earlier this month by telling his audience to quit subbing to his channel and use their money on a smaller streamer instead.

Facebook’s audience is massive and global. According to Doron Nir, the CEO of the stream services platform StreamElements, they’ve been making “talent acquisition moves” outside of America in Asia and Latin America. As CNN Business notes, Facebook Gaming has recently signed NexxuzHD and Lolito FDEZ, two big Spanish-speaking Fortnite streamers.

“It’s also important to note that there are so many untapped gamers that Facebook doesn’t have to rival Twitch to be successful,” wrote Nir in an email. Facebook doesn’t have to be in first place to win. It’s massive enough that if it manages to convert even a fraction of the billions of people who use the service every month, it’ll handily beat out everyone but YouTube. And making moves abroad is very smart. It’s obviously not an untapped market, but it’s not clear yet who’s going to win the battle for those hearts and minds and dollars.