Facebook is yet another giant joining the cloud gaming fight
After services like Google’s Stadia and more recently Amazon’s Luna backed the cloud gaming movement, tech giant Facebook now joins the fray. Cloud-gaming advertises a whole host of benefits over traditional gaming. Higher performance despite low-spec hardware, less time spent waiting for installs, downloads and updates and so on.
The reality of it is a little more complex – as Google Stadia premiered with its release in November last year, there is still a whole host of issues that need to be navigated. Many of Google’s early players reported lag, screen-tearing and interruptions of service.
Amazon Luna, unveiled much more recently, has already launched for select users in the US, and now Facebooks new cloud-gaming platform is the next to join the show – simply called ‘Facebook Gaming’, the platform is going to offer free-to-play games that users will be able to stream on their devices.
The Facebook cloud gaming approach
“We’re doing free-to-play games, we’re doing games that are latency-tolerant, at least to start. 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.” says Jason Rubin, Facebook’s vice president of play.
The references to the hardware are aimed at both Luna and Stadia, both of which offer dedicated hardware. Though neither have hardware as a “must” necessity for using the respective services. Facebook’s approach is different though. They are specifically including games that are easy to stream and that will work well even on subpar Internet connections.
One of their first titles is the popular racer “Asphalt 9: Legends”. The game is already available to select users in the US. For now, it’s available on Facebook’s Android app and desktop website. The plan is to expand the geographic access and the variety of games to include a more varied lineup.
A new service
The idea behind Facebook Gaming is to allow the company to offer more (and more elaborate) games on their platform. Originally, for gaming, they offered Flash games, before switching to HTML5 as a platform. Both of these platforms severely limit what they allowed users to play. Still, the addition of the Facebook Gaming platform won’t mean the death of FarmVille and co just yet. It’s intended to exist alongside the existing HTML5 games.
“The platform is going to allow the 300 million players that we have to continue to play the games they like, but we think they’ll branch out and play more complex games as well,” Rubin says. The current selection is made up primarily of Android-ports, and for now available to players in California, Texas and North-Eastern states.
Currently, iOS users are excluded from the platform. Services are only available on Android and on the browser version of Facebook. On both of those, a new tab will allow users to play the games. An interesting feature for games like Asphalt 9 is playing the game on Facebook’s platform and later downloading the app from the app store will allow players to keep their progress (as long as they log in with Facebook). Progression is tied to the login, which means players can seamlessly continue playing without losing progress.