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Facebook Officially Announces Gameroom, Its PC Steam Competitor (techcrunch.com) 116

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: After losing mobile gaming to iOS and Android, Facebook is making a big push into playing on PC with today's developer launch of its Gameroom Windows desktop gaming platform. After months of name changes, beta tests and dev solicitation, Facebook opened up the beta build for all developers and officially named it Gameroom. The app is openly available for users to download on Windows 7 and up. Gameroom let users play web, ported mobile and native Gameroom games in a dedicated PC app free from the distractions of the News Feed. Gameroom will have to fight a steep uphill battle again Valve's Steam platform, which has well over 125 million active users, with millions actually playing at any given moment. Facebook will need to convince developers that Gameroom will share its social network's massive reach and is therefore worth their while. Then it will have to persuade gamers that a more social experience is worth diving into a new platform. If Facebook succeeds, there are plenty of potential benefits to owning a gaming destination. Facebook announced the launch and name change from "Facebook Games Arcade" today at Unity's game development platform conference. Unity 5.6 shipping next year will allow devs to export their games directly to Facebook Gameroom, as well as to the WebGL standard. Facebook's director of global games platform, Leo Olebe, touted how Facebook will feature new games in the Gameroom to give developers a leg up.
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Facebook Officially Announces Gameroom, Its PC Steam Competitor

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  • by Anonymous Coward


    This idea is sunk by name already

  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @09:05AM (#53198087)
    This is dead on arrival, as Facebook is poisoned brand with gamers. They might attract casual Facebook gamers, Farmville and the like, but they already have these.
    • by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @09:14AM (#53198141)

      This is dead on arrival, as Facebook is poisoned brand with gamers. They might attract casual Facebook gamers, Farmville and the like, but they already have these.

      Indeed. My first thought after reading this was, "There's no way I'm going to let those privacy-rapist cunts get their hooks into any part of my life...and Steam works just fine."

      • But they aren't looking for you, the Steam player, who would never use this. They're looking for the same rubes who spent real money on hay for their chocolate cows in Farmville. They want you paying facebook for it instead.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      This is dead on arrival, as Facebook is poisoned brand with gamers. They might attract casual Facebook gamers, Farmville and the like, but they already have these.

      I think that is the audience FB are trying to get. Those who want to bother other people with their Fruit Quest bollocks. Happy for that kind of nonsense and gamer to stay restricted to FB.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You can be sure this is to capture more oculus exclusives and force people to use this platform to play them.

    • by Ranbot ( 2648297 )

      This is dead on arrival, as Facebook is poisoned brand with gamers. They might attract casual Facebook gamers, Farmville and the like, but they already have these.

      Yup. Even with the casual gamers Facebook is missing that casual gamers don't want to be tied to another device... just ask Nintendo! Casual gamers won't take the extra effort to find a PC when they can just turn on a phone or tablet anywhere and immediately be playing Farmville [or alternative knock-off].

      Also most gamers whether casual or hardcore don't necessarily want their gaming connected to their Facebook network of friends, associates, extended family, maybe even co-workers, so that connection would

      • by hodet ( 620484 )

        Seperation of gaming life and facebook life hits home for me. I really like Steam, but its not something I wan't to be on my FB feed, nor would I want it on my LinkdIn feed either for obvious reasons.

        • by sinij ( 911942 )

          Seperation of gaming life and facebook life hits home for me.

          Your secret affinity for Japanese Anime dating sims is safe for now.

    • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @09:53AM (#53198413)

      This is dead on arrival, as Facebook is poisoned brand with gamers. They might attract casual Facebook gamers, Farmville and the like, but they already have these.

      They already have them, but they're not extracting money from them; Zynga and their ilk are. This is a plan to get a hold of the revenue streams that currently goes to Zynga et al.

      • Talk about trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip. Zynga (ZNGA) [yahoo.com] has been trading below $3 for most of its public existence, compared to its $11 IPO in 2011.
    • Agreed. No way in hell I'm installing any Facebook "platform" on my PC. I've no doubt however that this has something to do with FB owning Occulus. Occulus already has it's own game distribution platform though. Possibly they will merge and Occulus users will eventually be forced to use the Facebook platform. Good thing I went with the HTC.
    • Honestly, it's not all that hard to get hardcore gamers to join a new platform. All you need to do is offer them a few older quality PC games for free (or a highly discounted price), and they'll install the client to download them.

      Hey... it worked for EA with Origin, right? I didn't want to put that crap on my PC, but I did to get those games.

    • by kuzb ( 724081 )
      This is exactly right. If facebook actually wants to compete, it needs to separate itself entirely from the new brand.
    • dotslash agree ... and actually thats what we've been waiting for after origin and whats that other thing from ubisoft ? .... ANOTHER PLATFORM so theres MORE clutter pardon my crAPPS ... i dont think this will go down well with what i consider to be pc-gamers but it might sink in with zyngacrowd (does zynga still exist cos ... i have been living under a rock for a while
      i sometimes wonder where these people do their research ... there is no beating the Gabe on this i'm afraid
  • Because (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @09:05AM (#53198089)
    PC Gamers have had such a glowing response to EA's Origin and Ubisoft's UPlay.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tnok85 ( 1434319 )
      And we trust Facebook even more than Origin and UPlay! Only thing I'm worried about - does Facebook have enough clout to get real 'exclusives'? The only reason Origin has traction is because of exclusives (Mass Effect, Battlefield games, etc) and UPlay used to force install with games bought on Steam (I think I had to have it installed to play Driver). EA/Origin also produce the games themselves, so they have a lot more clout in restricting them to certain delivery platforms.
    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      PC Gamers have had such a glowing response to EA's Origin and Ubisoft's UPlay.

      This. I've pretty much stopped buying EA and Ubisoft games because I cant get them without Origin or Uplay.

      To beat Steam, you have to be better than Steam. If you exclude steam and try to force people onto your own crappy platform you'll just drive more people to piracy.

      I usually try GOG first, especially for Indie games, but Steam is a useful, non-intrusive platform that hasn't screwed up on me in years... Unlike Origin that decided to delete my games and force me to re-download them (this is why I u

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, GOG is the only platform that currently has a chance of competing with steam and that's because in some ways, it's significantly better than steam. But even they don't try to push people to their platform with exclusives. Though CD Projekt Red (the owners of GOG) made the Witcher 3, the game was available on many different distribution channels, not just GOG. And even then, GOG succeeds because what it does better, but it doesn't dominate because steam still does a lot of other things better.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You are not the only one. My friends usually get a little upset when I wont buy games for Uplay.

        I have been boycotting every game from UbiSoft that contains DRM since StarForce. I only buy UbiSoft games from GOG.

        And fuck no to any more companies that force me to create an account just to play single player or LAN.

  • Sign me up! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @09:10AM (#53198113)

    Just what the world needs.

    Another platform where you pay and pay and pay, and have zero rights post-purchase as a consumer. They don't like you? Your account goes poof, and everything in it. Business not doing so well? Servers shut down. What can you do if any of this happens? Absolutely nothing, because the EULA inevitably says "Service not guaranteed" and/or "We can disable your account for absolutely no reason at all".

  • Hello ads.

  • Looking forward to seeing this platform. I assume it will be full of shit like Farmville, Candy Crush, etc. and have new and inventive ways to annoy the piss out of everybody with requests and notifications.
  • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @09:17AM (#53198155)

    That's exactly what I want. My real name associated with the games I play, and have ads tailored to me based upon any games I play.

    I only have steam because I have to. I refuse to install anything that requires Origin or UPlay- I sure as fudge won't install Facegames! I don't care if they get exclusive games, I've never been the sort to fall for peer pressure. "Oh you have to play this game that's only on Origin"- no I really don't. There are plenty of games on Steam. More games than I'll ever get around to playing. Exclusives are for idiots.

  • Gamers might associate the name with Microsoft's lackluster Game Room [wikipedia.org] platform for emulated games on the Xbox 360 and Windows PC/phone. They over-pro!mised and under-delivered, being slow to add new games as well as charging fees to import supported games users already purchased.

    • From the Wikipedia article the parent linked:

      Earlier in 2015, game packs and other DLC became unavailable for Xbox 360.[4] Currently as of November 2015, it is not possible to download or re-download the content[5] and there have been reports of users not being able to access the games even when they had purchased them.

      Classic Microsoft -- games that can be PlayedForSure!

  • Steam has 125 million active users? That doesn't seem possible. Pretty amazing if true though!
    • Depends on how loose your definition of "active" is. The wikipedia page says this of Steam, "The service has over 125 million registered accounts. Steam has had as many as 12.5 million concurrent users as of November 2015."

      • I am not totally repulsed by the Steam DRM mechanism. When they try to coerce it into becoming a social network I back away, though.

        It is ALWAYS a disappointment, however, when I purchase a boxed physical PC game and discover shortly after opening it and trying to install it that it's another 'Steam' game. It isn't always very well labeled as such on the packaging. Sometimes it's very deep in the fine print.

        • Yeah, stay the hell away from the message boards and the "community hubs" in general. Use the friends list for actual friends that you like to play with online, sell all cards you get from playing games, 50 cents off a game here and there adds up, and only costs you a few clicks.

  • by fishscene ( 3662081 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @09:41AM (#53198319)
    No. The only thing you do well is sell as much of me as you can to the highest bidder. The less you know about me and everyone else, the better off humanity is. Sincerely, An American with common sense.
    • I don't have a FB account.

      However, I have used WhatsApp for a few years now. As I understand it, it is used a lot in other countries too. I have used Instagram for a couple of years now as well. Now that FB owns them, I guess they know a lot more about me than I want. While I don't use my real name on either... i am sure the dots can be connected.

      If you don't use either of those, it is probably a matter of time before they acquire something that you do use.

  • Excluded all of my computers already.

    Besides, I've had to fix one too many Facebook games invoked issues on other peoples systems. I've blocked my family members from being able to send me game invites.

  • According to the FAQ, native games have to use Unity - no other engine is supported. Also there is a 200MB limit to the size of the game.

    • Also there is a 200MB limit to the size of the game.

      The original Doom game installer fits on a single floppy diskette.

      Size matters, but not nearly as much as some people think.

      • so.... the original Doom game would be ok for size, but it still wouldn't pass the "Unity only" restriction.

        • by Cederic ( 9623 )

          Rebuild it in Unity and it might not fit the size restriction.

          That code was _tight_.

  • ... but works only on Windows PCs

    Can somebody please explain to me the logic here?

    • You mean, as opposed to Steam logging how many hours you play each game? Like so far, I have 12 hours of the new Civilization VI game - which incidentally sucks: you can't name yourself, your civilization, your cities, and worst of all - if your city starts building something, you can't change it until it's complete
      • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

        Steam logs of time played are to be taken with a gigantic pinch of salt. Timer can keep running even though game isn't. Alt-tab out and forget about the game for a day and boom, an extra 24 hours 'time played'.

        Steam thinks I've played Torchlight 2 for fifty hours. It's closer to one hour.

        I believe you can reset that counter if you want, in any case.

        • This is right. There are times when, in the midst of a game, I've gone out w/o exiting the game, and returned hours later to resume. So it does add those hours to my play time. However, in the above case, I did really play for 12 hours this new game of theirs. That said, I'd love to know how and where to reset that.
      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        I quite like that log.

        If nothing else, it tells me that I may as well stop fretting about the price and just buy FM17: its predecessors are some of my most played games, I'll get far better value for money than almost anything else I can buy for more than a quid.

      • worst of all - if your city starts building something, you can't change it until it's complete

        Erm, you definitely can change what a city is currently building. I'm thinking about how to do it, and I'm coming up blank on how you would find it confusing, there are several intuitive ways to do it, two of which are:

        1) Click City, click 'Contrruction', click what you want to build.
        2) On the City's bar (over the city itself, not the UI overlay), click the cogwheel at the right hand side; this will bring up the construction menu.

  • Why does it seem like Facebook is working like mad, lately, to re-invent wheels and give people stuff they don't need?

    In the last couple weeks or so, I heard about them offering a commercial version of Facebook to act like your internal Intranet, and an IM client for corporate use (because Slack isn't any good!?), and now this.

    Like someone else already said, it's already extremely annoying if you use Windows for gaming that you're usually stuck loading at least 3 major clients/managers to play a collection

  • So now when that 13 year old gets pissed you beat him, it will be extra easy for him to start harassing you outside the game because he has your real name and the names of your family, friends, and co-workers!

  • In other news, Valve is shut down today. It seems all the employees are helplessly rolling around on the floor laughing.

  • Seriously. Don't download it. There's no benefit to you, only facebook.

  • They are wasting their time. If I'm gonna insult someone's mother, her firstborn, and their entire household, I'm sure as hell not gonna do it with my real name showing up from facebook.

  • So FB has cloned the least important feature of Steam?

  • and I just officially announced I will never, nor will any of the children in my household ever be using said service.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court