Updated: October 27, 2020 10:20:03 am
Facebook on Monday announced its entry into the fast-growing cloud gaming market with a free-to-play service. The new cloud gaming service will allow users to play games within the social network. The approach is similar to services offered by Google and Microsoft, but the social media giant isn’t focusing on exclusive games and AAA titles for now.
The cloud gaming service will be made available through Facebook’s desktop site and Android app, but not on iOS. The exclusion of the service from the Apple devices shouldn’t come as a shock. iOS App Store guidelines bar cloud gaming services like Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud from working on iPhones and iPads. Apple recently did make changes in those rules, saying that cloud gaming apps could offer subscriptions to multiple games, but each game has to be approved by Apple.
Facebook hopes to bring its cloud gaming service for iOS users, but at least not now. “Even with Apple’s new cloud games policy, we don’t know if launching on the App Store is a viable patch,” said Jason Rubin, VP of Play at Facebook. “Stay tuned as we work out the best way for people to play games when and how they want, regardless of what device they bought,” he added.
With its cloud gaming service, Facebook is not directly competing with the likes of Stadia, xCloud, and Luna. Unlike Google Stadia or Microsoft xCloud, Facebook isn’t promising 4K resolution gaming nor is it asking users to buy specialty game controllers. Instead, Facebook is focusing on popular mobile games. In the beginning, a total of six games will be a part of the cloud gaming service including Asphalt 9: Legends, Mobile Legends: Adventure, and 2K’s WWE SuperCard. Facebook said developers will be able to use cloud playable ads on the news feed to promote their games.
You’ll just need the Facebook app on Android. iOS won’t work for now. Because, Apple (sigh).
And you’ll need to be in the U.S. for now. Because, data centers.
You can also play our cloud-streamed games on desktop at https://t.co/wbEyHZ1dB1. Because, internet.
— Facebook Gaming (@FacebookGaming) October 26, 2020
According to Facebook, more than 380 million people play HTML 5 games on the social media platform, but the new cloud games will be superior in quality. By letting people play popular mobile titles for free, Facebook in a way aims to increase the total time spent on its social platform. Not just that, cloud games could also increase ad revenue for Facebook.
Facebook said its cloud gaming will begin rolling out this week to users in California, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington D.C. All of these regions are located near a Facebook data center. The company plans to expand the service in other regions in the coming months.
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