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Facebook is the latest to jump into mobile cloud gaming

It doesn't intend to replace conventional gaming like Google Stadia does, however.

Published onOctober 26, 2020

  • Facebook has launched cloud game streaming in its app and on the web.
  • The first titles are mobile games like Asphalt 9 and WWE SuperCard.
  • Facebook doesn’t intend to rival Google Stadia or Amazon Luna, however.

Facebook can’t entirely resist the allure of game streaming services like Google Stadia and Amazon Luna. Facebook has introduced a cloud gaming feature that lets you stream several mobile games through its Android app and the web without downloads or worries about performance.

The initial catalog includes several recognizable but not necessarily blockbuster games, including the racer Asphalt 9: Legends, wrestling title WWE SuperCard, PGA Tour Golf Shootout, Mobile Legends: Adventure, and Solitaire: Arthur’s Tale. More games will be available for streaming in the “coming weeks,” Facebook said, including Red Bull’s Dirt Bike Unchained.

Facebook added that it chose “latency-tolerant” games for its first proper foray into cloud gaming, but that you might still notice hiccups. It promised to ask for feedback and refine the feature over time. And in case you’re wondering: Facebook doesn’t see a “viable path” for iOS access, even over the web, due to Apple’s policies.

Read more: What is cloud gaming?

The service is rolling out in earnest across the US following early regional streaming, although the need for low latency will still limit just where you can play. Facebook game streaming will first be available in California, Texas, and states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic like New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Expansions will widen access in the “coming months.”

It’ll be easier to try games, too. On top of a redesigned Facebook Gaming web portal with easier discovery, the social network is debuting Cloud Playable Ads for Android and iOS users in the US. Similar to Google Play Instant or Apple’s App Clips, you can try a game without a download or even visiting an app store. You’ll initially see demos from developers like Angry Birds’ Rovio, 2K, Gameloft and others.

Unlike Amazon or Google, Facebook has no ambitions of replacing classic console or PC gaming with its cloud offering. This is strictly about adding a game streaming option on Facebook rather than replacing the usual experience. It doesn’t intend to launch a dedicated service, and warns that streaming “still has a way to go.” Even so, it’s notable that Facebook is trying this in the first place —it clearly wants to deliver more than simple web games.

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