Facebook Launches Free Cloud Gaming Service

Posted on October 26, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Social, Mobile gaming with 9 Comments

Facebook has launched a free cloud gaming service for some reason, and it’s available basically everywhere but Apple’s devices. The service was previously available in a limited preview in select regions.

“Facebook Gaming has launched several cloud-streamed games in the Facebook app and [web] browser, playable instantly, with no downloads required,” Facebook VP Jason Rubin writes in the announcement post. “Cloud game streaming promises to deliver unprecedented access to games across every screen. And while we’re thrilled to play a part in that future, that future is a ways off.”

That’s an interesting way to undercut your new offering right at the launch, but Rubin refers, not so subtly, to competing cloud gaming services like Google Stadia and Microsoft Cloud Gaming that he says “overpromise and under-deliver.”

“We believe in the long-term future of cloud gaming, but we aren’t going to try to wow you with the wonders of our data centers, compression algorithms, resolutions, or frames per second,” he writes. “Cloud game streaming for the masses still has a way to go, and it’s important to embrace both the advantages and the reality of the technology rather than try to oversell where it’ll be in the future.”

Rubin also notes that Facebook Gaming isn’t intended to replace a powerful video game console or gaming PC. Instead, Facebook is focusing on what it does best: Simple, free games of the sort normally played on mobile devices.

Well, not all mobile devices: Thanks to Apple’s anti-competitive business practices, Facebook Gaming is not available on iPhone or iPad.

“Only Android and web players will enjoy integrated cloud games on Facebook while we work on alternative options for iOS,” he notes. “Even with Apple’s new cloud games policy, we don’t know if launching on the App Store is a viable path. ‘Of course, there is always the open Internet,’ so mobile browsers may wind up being an option, but there are limitations to what we can offer on Safari. While our iOS path is uncertain, one thing is clear. Apple treats games differently and continues to exert control over a very precious resource.”

You can learn more at the Facebook Gaming website.

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Comments (9)

9 responses to “Facebook Launches Free Cloud Gaming Service”

  1. sammyg

    I will never use Amazon, Facebook or Google’s gaming services.

    Xbox FTW! :)

  2. sherlockholmes

    I dont play with the devil.

  3. Chris_Kez

    The only thing I really want Facebook to "wow" me with-- and I know this is a big ask-- is their core social media platform. The way these companies metastasize is just gross. I would really love to see Facebook go back to simply delivering a feed that shows photos and individually written posts (not links or re-shared stuff) from my friends, families and local or personal interest groups.

  4. omen_20

    I'm interested to see how long it takes for them to shift this service to Oculus Quest. Local streaming has already been proven on it with Virtual Desktop. Streaming is the future of ARM VR headsets and it will be a race to see who gets there first.

    I think Sony will have a strong proposition with local streaming the PS5 to a PSVR2.

    I hope Microsoft releases an official headset for local and xCloud. Game Pass is perfect for the current state of small tech demo like games that VR is built on. Streaming will help with higher end AAA experiences.

    • orbsitron

      In reply to Omen_20:

      Have you tried Half-Life: Alyx? It's an _incredible_, AAA, VR experience. It's really raised the bar for really any game platform for me. Nothing comes close to as immersive. Not other AAA PC or console games or other VR games.

      Perhaps Flight Sim in VR will feel that way when VR support launches.

      Star Wars: Squadrons in VR, with a stick and throttle is pretty immersive but the VR polish is nowhere near what it is in Alyx and Alyx has several mechanisms that really take advantage of all that VR has to offer whereas Squadrons really only has looking around (although that does make a huge difference compared to the desktop PC mode and presumably console version as well).

      Alyx really raised the bar for gaming all up and especially for VR.

  5. blue77star

    No thanks.

  6. scovious

    I wonder if the Oculus brand would have been more compelling...

  7. ken10

    If there Is one thing Zuckerberg has learned, it's how to straight up steal an idea and monetize it.

    • mattbg

      In reply to ken10:

      Agree, although gaming has always been a part of Facebook (Farmville, etc). I don't see how yet another generic 3D game helps them, though... hasn't that market been exhausted? I started to get tired of it after 4D Sports Boxing.

      It'd be cool if Facebook gave you a SimCity-type of game that let you run over your Friends and graffiti the walls of businesses you don't like - sort of like GTA: Facebook. But seeing as we can't even get a Dislike button I don't think that's about to happen.