Facebook brings cloud games to the iPhone, iPad through a web app


Starting Friday, Facebook will bring its emerging cloud gaming service to the iPhone and iPad through a web application people can add to their home screens like a native app. The site allows you to play simple online games such as solitaire and match triangles, and stream more graphically intense titles such as racing games.

But thanks to Apple’s rules, it’s unclear how people will find it because third-party developers like Facebook are prevented redirecting application users for websites that have purchase mechanisms that are not Apple’s own. It’s a huge friction point not only with Facebook, but also with other gaming companies like Epic, which have strongly opposed Apple’s grip on iOS payments. The Facebook online game library, which includes HTML5-based games and more advanced titles that stream directly from the cloud, uses a social network payment system called Facebook Pay to accept in-game purchases.

Facebook’s decision to bring the gaming platform to iOS online mimics the approach Amazon and Microsoft, which have also released Progressive Web apps or PWAs to their cloud gaming services to circumvent the App Store. Last year, Facebook complained loudly When Apple blocked the game from being placed in a separate iOS app and said it was looking for alternatives. Shortly thereafter, Apple changed its rules Allowing cloud-based games as long as they are individually submitted as apps to the App Store for review – a policy that Microsoft and others said they lacked in their desire to release their own game stores on iOS.


“We’ve come to the same conclusion as the others: web apps are currently the only option to stream cloud games on iOS,” said Vivek Sharma, vice president of Facebook games. Limit in the opinion. “As many have pointed out, Apple’s policy of” allowing “cloud games in the App Store doesn’t allow much at all. , from playing over devices and using high-quality games immediately in iOS apps – even for those who don’t use the latest and most expensive devices. “

Facebook isn’t a major player yet, as it’s mainly focused on streamers so they can send their games to fans to watch. But last year, it acquired the launch of cloud games and released a handful of free games Like Asphalt 9. It has since made its services available in more areas, adding other titles such as Assassin’s Creed: Rebellionand said 1.5 million people play cloud games a month.

Although Facebook ultimately found a solution to get cloud games for iOS, there are still major limitations Set by Apple Safari browser for online games. Sound is off by default, games can’t send push notifications, and graphics aren’t as effective as native apps. And then there is the problem of discovery.

A Facebook spokesman declined to comment on the game site’s growth plans, however Apple rules say developers can’t send users from a native app to a website with a payment technology other than their own. Developers of Facebook games could do their own marketing, but these efforts would fade compared to the traffic that the main Facebook app could send.

Facebook cloud games are currently available in the U.S. and parts of Canada and Mexico, while HTML games are available elsewhere as cloud games are slowly being imported into more regions.

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