With a userbase exceeding 125 million, Steam is the leading platform for PC games by a large margin. Facebook is now looking to get a piece of the action with its new service, Gameroom. The service is an evolution of Facebook Games Arcade, and is available as a desktop client for Windows that lets users play games without having to access Facebook.
Steam has the advantage thanks to its robust library and userbase, but if Facebook can manage to attract even a sliver of its 1.5 billion users into downloading and using Gameroom, it can mount a challenge to Valve. Right now, it looks like Facebook is focused on casual gaming titles, including ports of mobile games, and a small smattering of “exclusive” games.
Gameroom requires an active connection to Facebook at all times to work, and as of now there’s no way to play games offline. All games also need access to your Facebook profile, so you’ll need to see what information you’re giving out for each title.
One key advantage for Facebook is its partnership with Unity, with the social network allowing easy access for devs to port their games to Gameroom:
With Facebook Gameroom, Facebook is introducing an easier way for developers to bring high-quality games to the PC to take full advantage of the CPU and GPU native power. The Facebook build target lets you deploy your projects to either the new Gameroom desktop app for Windows as a native Windows player, or to Facebook.com using Unity’s WebGL support.
When the Facebook target build is active in the Unity Editor, you can use the Facebook SDK for Unity API to share content with Facebook friends, access the Graph API, and more. You will also be able to use the Unity IAP service to handle in-app purchases on Facebook. Everything you need comes integrated with Unity out of the box — you can even upload your builds to be hosted by Facebook directly from the Unity Editor.
If you’re interested in taking a look, you can install Gameroom from here.