Crysis' Developers New Online Gaming Service is OnLive + Skype + Facebook

Illustration for article titled emCrysis/em Developers New Online Gaming Service is OnLive + Skype + Facebook

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.

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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.

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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.

Illustration for article titled emCrysis/em Developers New Online Gaming Service is OnLive + Skype + Facebook
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Illustration for article titled emCrysis/em Developers New Online Gaming Service is OnLive + Skype + Facebook
Illustration for article titled emCrysis/em Developers New Online Gaming Service is OnLive + Skype + Facebook
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Illustration for article titled emCrysis/em Developers New Online Gaming Service is OnLive + Skype + Facebook
Illustration for article titled emCrysis/em Developers New Online Gaming Service is OnLive + Skype + Facebook
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Illustration for article titled emCrysis/em Developers New Online Gaming Service is OnLive + Skype + Facebook
Illustration for article titled emCrysis/em Developers New Online Gaming Service is OnLive + Skype + Facebook
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Illustration for article titled emCrysis/em Developers New Online Gaming Service is OnLive + Skype + Facebook

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DISCUSSION

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Gemini-Phoenix

Once upon a time we had STEAM, which was great because it was the only service of its kind, easy to set-up and use, and every major publisher wanted to release its games on this service. Then one day these publishers got greedy and decided they all wanted a piece of the pie, so they decided to create their own proprietry digital delivery systems. Consumers were then back to square one!

In all seriousness, STEAM was a great concept. It's great because for a while it was the only one, which made being a consumer very easy. But now all these companies want their own digital distribution method, which means life is more complicated for the consumer.

What makes all these companies think we want to use a dozen different services just to play games from different publishers? Aside from STEAM, there's Desura, plus also EA's ORIGIN service, OnLive, and now Crytek want to join the party with their own service... Why? Why do we need so many independent services when STEAM is a perfectly adequate digital delivery method?

I understand it's all about the money and company's wish to control how their own content is distributed, but at what cost to the consumer? What makes them think that we want all of these services?

Maybe the next generation of consoles will be the last. Maybe the generation after that will be contested by digital distribution services such as STEAM, ORIGIN, OnLive etc, with electronics companies like Sony, Samsung, LG, Panasonic etc all making compatible set-top boxes capable of running these services...