Facebook has launched a gaming streaming service - here’s how it works

Facebook has launched its own cloud-based streaming service, allowing users to play video games from within the Facebook app or in a web browser.

The new tool will allow users to stream games from the cloud, meaning they won’t have to download anything. With the feature, Facebook is following in the footsteps of the likes of Google and Microsoft, who created their own platforms to allow gaming on different devices over the internet.

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Facebook’s game streaming platform will be free to use, with the company making money via in-game purchases and advertising.

How the service works

The cloud-based streaming service doesn’t require a standalone platform, and will be available within the existing Facebook app.

The service is currently not available on iPhones and iPads, but can be used on the Facebook Gaming apps on Android, as well as via Facebook’s website on PCs.

Focusing on games designed for handsets instead of consoles or PCs, Facebook notes that users will not need to buy controllers or other special hardware in order to play.

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Facebook will allow gamers to create a player name when using the service. This means you can game under an alternative identity for the first time in Facebook’s history.

Jason Rubin, Facebook’s vice-president of Play, said, “Cloud game streaming for the masses still has a way to go.

“And it's important to embrace both the advantages and the reality of the technology rather than try to oversell where it'll be in the future."

When will it be available in the UK?

Facebook game streaming is only available in the US for now, with no date announced yet for when it will be available in the UK.

Which games will be available to play?

The platform will only have five titles to start off with.

These include:

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The soft launch with limited games is in an attempt to avoid criticisms rivals have faced.

Reviews for Google’s Stadia cloud gaming services said that it delivered “choppy gameplay,” and Microsoft’s xCloud Platform has been criticised for its long loading times.

Mr Rubin said Facebook had chosen not to “overpromise and under-deliver,” with plans to add more demanding gaming titles in the future.

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The rise of cloud gaming

Facebook Gaming arrives into a battle for who can take the stop spot in cloud gaming. Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, and Microsoft’s xCloud are all competing to tempt gamers away from the traditional console.

Google Stadia, which launched earlier this year, offers users a chance to play games on their TV, PC, laptop, tablet and Google Pixel smartphones, without any need for a game launcher.

Stadia offers a pro subscription for £8.99, which gives players access to the entire Stadia game library, not unlike Xbox Game Pass. Google Stadia currently has the upper hand over its rivals with its extensive game choice.

Microsoft’s Project xCloud is the company's cloud gaming service which allows players access to 150 Xbox game titles on their Android phone or tablet, as well as their console and PC.

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Amazon’s entry into the cloud gaming world is Luna, which allows gamers access to a host of AAA quality console and PC titles via their mobile device, as long as they are connected to the internet.

Unlike Stadia, Facebook and xCloud, users are unable to play their games on an Android device. Luna currently features a strong selection of games, but will also soon be getting access to the latest Ubisoft games.