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Facebook launches games streaming service

Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent
·3-min read

Facebook has launched its own cloud-based games streaming service, which will allow users to play video games from within the Facebook app or in a web browser.

Streaming games from the cloud is becoming increasingly popular, with a number of other companies including Google and Xbox creating their own platforms to allow gamers to play on different devices over the internet without downloading anything.

However, Facebook Gaming will not be available in-app for Apple iOS users, which the social network said was linked to Apple’s policy on cloud gaming, an issue which has also affected Microsoft’s xCloud service.

Facebook confirmed that the new platform would initially only be available in the US, with no UK release date yet confirmed.

“Today we’re announcing that Facebook Gaming has launched several cloud-streamed games in the Facebook app and on browser – playable instantly, with no downloads required,” Facebook’s head of play Jason Rubin said.

“We recently had 200,000 people playing our cloud-streamed games per week in limited regions, so while it’s not exactly a secret, I’m excited to lay out what we’re building.

“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 way off.

“So before we talk about our aspirations, let me start with what we’re not doing. Cloud gaming announcements are prone to hype, so I’m going to speak openly from the outset.”

Mr Rubin said the service was not trying to replace video game consoles, but instead offer more options on when and how people could play.

“We love console and PC gaming and both formats will be around for a long time. We believe cloud gaming will increase – not replace – the options to jump into great games. We’re not trying to replace your phone either,” he said.

“We think you’ll find that there are times when jumping quickly into a cloud game is a better option, and sometimes it’s not.”

The Facebook executive also stressed that the new platform would not be a separate, standalone service, but integrated into the existing Facebook experience.

The first set of games available on the new service includes racing game Asphalt 9: Legends, PGA Tour Golf Shootout and WWE SuperCard.

Mr Rubin confirmed that Facebook was looking for “alternative options” to launch the service for iOS users.

“Unfortunately, we’re not launching cloud games on iOS, so only Android and web players will enjoy integrated cloud games on Facebook while we work on alternative options for iOS,” he said.

He added: “Even with Apple’s new cloud games policy, we don’t know if launching on the App Store is a viable path.

“While our iOS path is uncertain, one thing is clear; Apple treats games differently and continues to exert control over a very precious resource.

“Stay tuned as we work out the best way for people to play games when and how they want, regardless of what device they bought.”