Google’s got Stadia, Amazon’s got Luna, and now Facebook has its own cloud gaming service. But don’t expect to stream console and PC hits on Facebook Gaming’s cloud. At launch, it’s all about free-to-play, microtransaction-packed mobile games.
Rolling out today in the U.S. in California, Texas, and the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states, Facebook Gaming’s cloud gaming offering isn’t so much a standalone service as it is an addition to the vast array of browser-based social games already available to play on the social media platform. Visitors to the Facebook Gaming landing page and Android app (no iOS support currently) in the beta testing areas will gain access to a selection of mobile games, including Asphalt 9: Legends, Mobile Legends: Adventure, PGA TOUR Golf Shootout, Solitaire: Arthur’s Tale, and WWE SuperCard. Rather than playing natively or launching their own apps, these games will stream to browser or Android app.
In the official announcement, which you can read in full at Facebook Gaming, the company says it’s not looking to wow players with super-fast streaming or replace traditional gaming hardware. It’s just a completely innocent and wholesome company that wants to give the nice people some games to play, probably.
Facebook Gaming is also rolling out player names and avatars, which is great news. Previously Facebook games used players’ real names and Facebook profile pics. Now they’ll be a bit more anonymous, which is nice, plus the new player names will allow for easier cross-play between streaming games and apps.
Facebook is also using streaming technology to create cloud playable ads, streaming actual gameplay as advertisements instead of, say, those crappy in-app ads you get in mobile games that aren’t representative of the game they want you to download at all.
I’m not sure why I’d want to stream a free-to-play mobile game to my phone via the Facebook Gaming app rather than just download the app, but I am sure people with older phones or not a lot of storage space will appreciate it. At least it’s free and doesn’t want us to buy a stupid controller.