Crytek, the developers behind the Crysis series (and the CryEngine), will soon be helping release their own online multiplayer gaming service. It has a stupid name, but everything else about it is very interesting.
It's called GFACE. Seriously. Get over the name, though, and you see it's trying to take online gaming on a PC (and other devices) to a very slick and sociable place.
While saying that the product is run by a "a small team with big ideas", GFACE's creators acknowledge they are "backed up by a well known critically acclaimed game studio: Crytek. We share not only technology and vision, but the commitment to deliver the highest possible quality". All the group's vacant job positions are all hosted on Crytek's website.
As a network, GFACE is built around friends lists, obviously, but with a few key alterations to the way most existing services do things. For one, it's got embedded video chat right there in the framework. It also has a drag-and-drop invite system similar to the way Battlefield 3's Battlelog rus, and again like Battlelog, GFACE operates in a browser.
And that's where it gets interesting. Unlike Battlelog, which was designed for a single game, GFACE's browser plug-in also operates as a streaming agent, meaning you don't actually play the games off your PC, you'd be streaming them in from off-site, ala OnLive.
So, like you can see in the multi-device shot in the gallery above, the guy on the PC plays a traditional 3D first-person shooter game, while other players on iOS devices play command or support roles designed specifically for their hardware. Yet they're all playing the same game, because it all - in theory, at least - runs in a browser and not on the actual device.
It's also taking a page out of Xbox Live's books by letting you access those same friends lists and functionality while watching media.
Perhaps most ambitious, though, is the fact gaming is just part of what Crytek wants GFACE to do. There's a whole raft of social applications similar to what Facebook and Twitter currently do built into the system as well, which you can see in the video in the gallery above.
GFACE is currently in closed beta.