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Facebook Unveils Gameroom, Its Official Steam Rival For PCs

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Facebook is taking a big step into gaming on PCs with its Gameroom Windows desktop gaming platform after losing mobile gaming to Android and iOS. The tech giant opened up the beta build for all developers after months of developer solicitation and beta tests, reports TechCrunch.

No Newsfeed distractions

Facebook declared that its PC gaming platform will accept uploads from Unity developers soon. The app will allow game makers using the upcoming Unity 5.6 game engine to export their creations to the platform directly. The application is openly available for users to download on Windows 7 and newer. The platform allows users to play the web, ported native and mobile Gameroom games in a separate PC app, free from any distractions from their News Feed.

In May, the tech giant announced its intentions for a new gaming platform but clarified them in August after declaring a partnership with Unity. This partnership will let developers easily transfer games built in the Unity engine to Facebook’s platform.

Competition from Steam

Gameroom will face huge competition from Valve’s Steam platform, which has around 125 million active users with millions of users actually playing at all times, notes TechCrunch. The social media giant will need to convince developers that its gaming app will share its massive reach and is worth their time. Secondly, it will have to convince gamers that it’s worth diving into a new gaming platform for a better social experience.

Unity is the preferred engine for many intelligent and interesting indie designers, while Steam should remain the platform for serious PC gamers with its vast catalog, huge install base and focus on “proper” video games, says The Verge.

How the gaming app helps Facebook

If Facebook succeeds, then there are many advantages of owning a gaming platform. The social network can make a 30% revenue cut on payments in games. It can link users deeper into Facebook’s identity layer, making it more difficult for them to dump the social networking site. In addition, the tech giant can drive advertisement sales as developers will seek to promote their games in News Feeds. Also the tech giant could generate Facebook Live content from users streaming their gameplay, notes TechCrunch.

Because of developers like Zynga, the tech giant was able to build a massive business on game payments in 2009. As users started to dump casual web games for Android and iOS, the game empire began to crumble, but now with a PC app, the social media giant wants all its players back.

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