Facebook Launches Free Cloud Gaming Service

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