Several tech giants have been developing their own answer to cloud gaming, including Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. Today, Facebook has announced its own service, though it won't have a special name like Stadia or Luna.
Facebook Gaming will be launching cloud-streamed games on Facebook itself, either through the phone app or in-browser. Much like other offerings, it allows you to play without downloads—but unlike others, it is free-to-play.
In a blog today, Facebook VP of Play Jason Rubin laid out the expectations for the service. He says Facebook isn't going to be targeting resolutions or frames per second, and it's also not trying to replace gaming hardware. The lineup reflects that: the first set, available this week, includes Asphalt 9: Legends, Mobile Legends: Adventure, PGA Tour Golf Shootout, Solitaire: Arthur's Tale, and WWE SuperCard. Games will launch with in-app purchases and ads enabled as well, depending on "game format and developer choice."
Facebook says it's focusing on "latency-intolerant" games to start, so don't expect any fighting games or shooters right away. The beta is expected to expand and add more genres over time, with an expansion in 2021 that will add action and adventure games.
Several major tech companies have been launching their own cloud gaming services. Microsoft has the service formerly known as xCloud, which is now rolled into Game Pass Ultimate. Google has been trying to work with Stadia for a while now, and Amazon recently announced Luna. Each has its own approach, though they do all require a subscription.
Facebook's service stands apart for not trying to offer "premium" games, but also for being free to check out. It's not the normal kind of cloud platform, but among several other competitors in the cloud gaming field, that might be to its advantage. Facebook Gaming is rolling out in the U.S., starting with California, Texas, and several Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states (you can find the full list here), and more regions are expected in the coming months.