Facebook cloud gaming beta squares off with Stadia and xCloud streaming

Facebook announced today that it is launching a beta of cloud games for many people in the U.S. Cloud games have been in limited testing on Facebook for some time, but now it looks like the service is ready to be tested on a broader scale. While this is a major launch for Facebook, the company also took the time today to set expectations for cloud games, telling users to expect something of a relatively small scale in a market that still has “a long way to go.”

In fact, in a blog post today, Facebook’s vice president of games, Jason Rubin, noted that “cloud game ads are prone to hype” and started with a list of goals and promises for cloud games. For example, Rubin says the company will not “over-promise and under-deliver”, nor is it trying to position cloud games as a replacement for existing gaming hardware. We will also see the company start small with a narrow focus on free games, much like those already available on Facebook Gaming.

Users will also not need to spend money to play cloud games on Facebook, nor will they need any special hardware (at least in the beginning), as Facebook will focus on native mobile games to get started. Finally, Rubin confirmed that cloud games will not be available on iOS in the foreseeable future, being released on Android and web players. Facebook has detailed its problems with Apple and games in the past, so it’s safe to say that things haven’t improved in that respect.

With expectations on the defined scale, Rubin says that Facebook’s cloud streaming will launch with five games – Asphalt 9: Legends, Mobile Legends: Adventure, PGA TOUR Gold Shootout, Solitaire: Arthur’s Tale and WWE SuperCard, with the launch of Dirt Bike Red Bull’s unchained in the coming weeks. This may seem like a random variety of games, but Rubin says that they were chosen because Facebook needed “latency-tolerant games”, so cloud games can be used by as broad a user base as possible here at the beginning of the beta test.

In the beginning, cloud games will only be available in the United States, and even then, not everyone in the United States will be able to participate immediately. The beta version will only air today for players in California, Texas and in several states in the Mid-Atlantic, including Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia and West Virginia. More U.S. regions will come online in the coming months, as Facebook builds its cloud gaming infrastructure.

If you are in one of these regions and want to take a walk through Facebook cloud games, you can find them on the Facebook Gaming tab on Android or on the web on the Facebook Gaming website. We’ll let you know when more regions and games are online, so stay tuned for more.

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