Facebook is the latest big company to join the increasingly competitive cloud gaming market. Today, the social network announced that its Facebook Gaming platform, which has been competing with Twitch, YouTube, and Microsoft’s Mixer from quite some time is now welcoming its first cloud games available on the web and Android.
For now, Facebook’s cloud games are free-to-play games that resemble games you can find on smartphones and tablets. You can play these games with a mouse and keyboard on the web, and with touch controls on Android. The first wave of cloud games now available in the US include the mobile games Asphalt 9: Legends, Mobile Legends: Adventure, PGA TOUR Golf Shootout, Solitaire: Arthur’s Tale, and WWE SuperCard.
"Access to cloud games on Facebook will roll out in the US, initially available across California, Texas and Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states including, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and West Virginia. We’ll expand regional access in the coming months as we scale the infrastructure needed to roll out cloud gaming across the US,” the company explained today.
These first cloud games are available on the desktop by visiting fb.gg/play, and Android users can access them via the main Facebook app. The social network also threw some shade at Apple for preventing Facebook to launch its first cloud games on the iOS App Store. "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," the company explained.
Interestingly, today's announcement makes no mention of Facebook's partnership with Microsoft for Project xCloud. When Microsoft announced the sunsetting of Mixer earlier this year, the Redmond giant said that it would bring Xbox games to Facebook Gaming via Project xCloud, though this partnership with Facebook wouldn't be an exclusive one. It seems that Facebook may have been working on its own cloud gaming platform before this partnership with Microsoft, and it's a logical evolution of the existing Facebook Gaming streaming service.
Facebook's approach to cloud gaming is certainly more cautious than its competitors. Microsoft currently has over 100 games available on Android phones for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers, while Google is only offering a couple of free games every month to Stadia Pro subscribers. Amazon's new Luna cloud gaming platform seems to have more potential thanks to synergies with Twitch's massive gaming audience, though the service is currently in preview in the US. Anyway, seeing increased competition in the cloud gaming market is great, and other companies such as EA and Verizon could soon join that space as well.