At some point, Facebook was shaping up to be a gaming force. Casual gamers were playing games on the social network before mobile came and gobbled them all. Now the company is trying to win back some of those gamers. Facebook has announced a new dedicated gaming platform which may try to compete with Steam.
The service is being created in collaborating with game engine Unity. It will be a dedicated desktop platform offering downloadable game content. On top of that, Facebook said it is going to improve the gaming experience for people on the social network.
Publishers will be able to port iOS and Android mobile games onto facebook.com. Casual games which Facebook championed will also be included. For the PC desktop service, the company says it will support more hardcore games like the Steam platform does now.
Facebook has already opened the doors. Developers can now apply for access to a limited alpha of Unity 5.4. The engine will be the base for them to create content for the service. Applications will close on August 31, the company points out. Unity 5.4 will also allow dev’s to port existing games to Facebook’s network.
Facebook and Gaming
While Facebook remains a social media giant, the company is increasingly looking to branch out. We wrote last week about the opening of an R&D lab to focus on hardware. Increasingly the company sees itself like a broad tech provider like Microsoft and Google.
Once upon a time, the social network was becoming a major hub for casual gaming. The rise of mobile took gamers off the actual website, although 650 million still play on the network. Also, the company has ties to numerous games as a sign-in gate on mobile. The company supports developers too, paying $2.5 billion to them in 2015.
That kind of history of support could mean dev’s a willing to jump on board the company’s new service. However, the company is still keeping quiet about the exact details, including the name. We do, however, know that it will be cross-platform and not just Windows-based. Other Facebook features will not be included in the service. Also, causal games and hardcore titles will sit side by side.