Facebook continues to expand its catalogue of services. Now, it is delving into the challenging world of cloud gaming.
The company announced yesterday via Twitter that it will be bringing cloud gaming to Facebook Gaming, its video game streaming feature.
The company went into further detail in a blog post, where Jason Rubin, VP of Play, explained that the service will be free, and can be accessed directly from the Facebook app on mobile or the browser on desktop. On mobile, the service will be available exclusively on Android, as Apple has tight restrictions about cloud gaming when it comes to iOS. While Rubin did not entirely rule out their cloud service coming to iOS, he did say they are “uncertain.”
“We’re doing free-to-play games, we’re doing games that are latency-tolerant, at least to start,” Rubin said. “We’re not promising 4K, 60fps, so you pay us $6.99 per month. We’re not trying to get you to buy a piece of hardware, like a controller,” in a likely jab at competitors like the troubled Google Stadia.
For now, Facebook is launching a beta in the US this week in a handful of states, starting with a range of mobile-native games in Android APK formats like Asphalt 9: Legends, Mobile Legends: Adventure, PGA TOUR Golf Shootout, Solitaire: Arthur’s Tale and WWE SuperCard.
“As our beta progresses and cloud technology scales, we’ll increase the variety of game genres,” Rubin said. “That expansion will start in 2021 with the addition of action and adventure games. Games will launch with in-app purchases and ads enabled, depending on game format and developer choice.”
Overall, cloud-streamed games are launching on Facebook in two complementary formats, says Rubin:
- Full, free-to-play mobile games in a relaunched destination for Play;
- Cloud playable ads so people can instantly try out a game on Facebook.
For the first time ever, Facebook users will be able to use Player Names (gaming usernames) and gaming-themed Avatars as opposed to just their real-life names that they use on the platform. Thankfully, any progress in a game and in-app purchases made will carry on to the actual mobile app should a user opt to download it, which should alleviate concerns about separating user bases.
According to The Verge, Facebook acquired Spanish cloud gaming service CloudGiga last year, which was likely done to catalyze the development of this new service. After all, Facebook has had a history of acquiring smaller companies to acquire their technologies and implement them across the Facebook ecosystem.