Facebook has taken the mobile messaging feature of its mobile platform and gave it a standalone app. Now, the company is also doing the same thing for its games except that they are being aggregated in a Windows downloadable app called Facebook Gameroom for PC gaming.
Announced last Nov. 1 during the Unity developers conference, Gameroom lumps all web games and native games built for the Facebook platform together. It is primarily aimed for developers and gamers who are encouraged to use the new system due to several benefits.
"Developing in Facebook Gameroom natively takes less time: it's easier compared to HTML5 and gives better solutions around threading, debugging, networking and memory management," Facebook explained in an official press release. "Facebook Gameroom provides better performance in terms of app launch timings and memory consumption in native games."
While the world's biggest social media network calls the initiative its "arcade project", possibly due to the focus on arcade and casual gaming content, some observers see a hint of ambition to directly challenge Valve's Steam. If this is the case, then Gameroom is certainly starting out in modest terms. It currently has a 200 MB cap so gamers cannot expect to play content with Diablo 3 caliber.
The initiative also seems to be the platform that Facebook is working with Unity.
Whatever the case is, the consensus is that the PC gaming sphere and a possible Steam competition are going to be both challenging for Facebook. Steam boasts of 125 million users who are mostly devoted and deeply entrenched in its ecosystem. The good news is that Facebook has the key to a massive number of social media users, which should provide the incentive for developers to create more Gameroom game content.
If Facebook becomes successful with Gameroom, it will effectively entangle its social media users deeper into its network, providing fewer reasons to leave. But at this point, that success is still quite a long shot especially when Gameroom is seemingly taking some time to gain traction. Those in the loop know that this was already announced last May, although it was called Games Arcade back then.
Currently, Facebook Gameroom is still in beta stage. So, while PC users can now download the Gameroom client, some games are not yet playable. For example, Peter Molyneux's Curiosity is not yet working when launched.