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Facebook, like Microsoft, Amazon and Google, is betting that the new cloud gaming business will be a big hit.
The social networking giant on Monday premiered a handful of video games that are streamed to people's smartphones and personal computers.
Users can find the games in the Facebook "Gaming" section or via their news feeds. Some of the games that will be available for streaming clouds include the racing game Asphalt 9: Legends PGA TOUR Golf Shootout Solitaire: Arthur & # 39 ;s Speech and WWE SuperCard .
Over the last couple of years, a long list of companies has piled into cloud gaming, a business that involves providing users with high quality video games through online streaming. One of the advantages, according to the companies, is that players do not have to buy expensive game consoles.
Unlike companies like Google and Microsoft, Facebook throws cloud games as a step-by-step process. For example, Facebook does not sell monthly cloud gaming subscriptions or hardware as game controllers.
Another difference, said Jason Rubin, Facebook's vice president of special gaming initiatives, is that Facebook does not have a partnership with game publishers for so-called AAA games, which is equivalent to Hollywood blockbusters. And instead of adding eager players, Facebook greets occasional players who otherwise relax by using simple puzzles online and the like.
These kinds of casual games are generally free to play, but people who want extra features have to pay.
With his shooter service, Rubin said that Facebook users will be able to see if a friend is playing a particular game, and then immediately join them. They will also be able to click on online ads to play games that are automatically played without leaving Facebook.
Facebook hopes that game publishers who want to increase users will therefore spend more on Facebook on online ads.
Although Facebook's cloud streaming will be available via Facebook's desktop app and Android mobile app, it's not available on iPhones and iPads. . Apple has excluded cloud gaming services, including those from Google and Microsoft, from its mobile app store because they say they cannot screen individual games to ensure they comply with company policies.
"It's just very unfortunate and something we have to deal with," Rubin said of Apple iOS users not being able to play Facebook's cloud-based games.
"Apple treats games differently and everyone just understands it," Rubin added. "We have a large user base, so we do not find any users, and there are people on the desktop ̵
Lewis Ward, research director for IDC, said that cloud gaming is currently just a niche business that could take another 10 years to become a hit. Ward characterized Facebook's cloud gaming initiative as an evolution of the company's latest big video game push called Instant Games, which made it easier for consumers to play more basic games that they had seen in their news feeds.
But the technology that drives Instant Games is limited, making it difficult for Facebook to offer more complex games that multiple people can play simultaneously, Ward explained. To improve gaming technology and offer more compelling games, in December Facebook acquired the small cloud gaming company PlayGiga for an undisclosed amount.
Finally, Rubin said that Facebook must invest in games because people are increasingly forming "communities" with others who play and watch video games together. The idea is close to Facebook's core roots of social networks.
Rubin said, "We have to get involved in gambling."
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