Facebook has launched its cloud gaming initiative, with a series of pithy statements that seem to acknowledge the issues that have befallen those who have come before. With Jason Rubin, these days Facebook’s VP of Play, smartly stating how the social media giant will approach the cloud gaming concept in a blog post.
In practice, cloud gaming for Facebook begins with a handful of Android native applications in the US only. The handful of games will be playable both via Facebook apps and through a browser at fb.gg/play. And these will come alongside ‘Cloud Playable Ads’ allowing players to potentially jump straight into the games and try them out.
The playable ads are easily the most exciting part of the experiment in our eyes, and something we’ve long looked to as a key driver for cloud gaming. Rubin says “we can now support interactive demos from a game’s native code, blurring the line between games and ads.”
For developers, it will eventually make separate HTML5 playable ad snippets, that look something like your actual game, a thing of the past. Developers will be able to easily swap out assets (say sports stars based on regions) easily within a single advert APK.
Launch titles this week include Asphalt 9: Legends by Gameloft; Mobile Legends: Adventure by Moonton; PGA TOUR Golf Shootout by Concrete Software, Inc.; Solitaire: Arthur’s Tale by Qublix Games; and WWE SuperCard by 2K. Which is a solid tranche of core gaming action. Despite some of these titles being fast-paced, Rubin described them as being “latency-tolerant.”
Games will be monetised via in-app a slice of in-app payments for developers, exactly as they usually would. And the service won’t be launching on iOS for the time being, with Rubin noting that “we don’t know if launching on the App Store is a viable path” and “there are limitations to what we can offer on Safari.” Once again, we see Apple’s approach openly discussed by some of its biggest partners/competitors in an unflattering light.
It’s an intriguing move by Facebook and one, thanks to its own modest ambitions, that is very easy to get behind.