Facebook is finally bringing its cloud gaming service to iPhones and iPads through a progressive web app that users will be able to add to their home screen just like a native app. It allows users to play simple web games like Solitaire and stream more graphics-heavy titles like racing games.
The social media giant is following the footsteps of Amazon and Microsoft, which also released Progressive Web Apps or PWAs to bring their cloud gaming services to iOS and get around the App Store.
Facebook’s cloud games are currently available in the United States and some regions of Canada and Mexico while HTML games are accessible elsewhere as cloud games are slowly rolled out to more regions.
It remains to be seen how users will be able to find titles on Facebook’s web-based gaming service as third-party developers like Facebook are barred from steering users to websites featuring purchasing mechanisms that aren’t Apple’s own. The company is using its own payments system called Facebook Pay to accept in-game purchases.
In a statement to The Verge, Facebook’s Vice President Vivek Sharma said: “We’ve come to the same conclusion as others: web apps are the only option for streaming cloud games on iOS at the moment. As many have pointed out, Apple’s policy to ‘allow’ cloud games on the App Store doesn’t allow for much at all. Apple’s requirement for each cloud game to have its own page, go through the review, and appear in search listings defeats the purpose of cloud gaming. These roadblocks mean players are prevented from discovering new games, playing cross-device, and accessing high-quality games instantly in native iOS apps — even for those who aren’t using the latest and most expensive devices.”
Although Facebook isn’t a major player in the gaming sector, the company seems to be aspiring to be one. Last year, it acquired a cloud gaming startup and released a handful of free-to-play titles like Asphalt 9. It has since made the service available in more regions, added other titles, and is claimed to have 1.5 million users per month playing its cloud games.