Facebook’s cloud gaming service launches on iOS in both the app and the web
After months in private beta, Facebook Cloud Gaming is live and accessible through a web app on the iPhone, with some launching from within the app, which may be against Apple’s guidelines.
Facebook users can access Facebook’s cloud gaming platform by visiting a specific url and adding it to their home screen. Once the bookmark is added, a special Safari window will launch with the Facebook gaming web app in full screen mode.
The edge notes that Facebook is in a difficult position for this emerging gaming platform – it cannot advertise the web app within the Facebook app, nor run the games natively on Facebook. Apple requires that all games for a streaming service go to the App Store, or the service just needs to be on a web app.
“We came to the same conclusion as others: Web apps are currently the only way to stream cloud games on iOS,” said Facebook’s vice president of gaming, Vivek Sharma. “As many have pointed out, Apple’s policy of allowing cloud games in the App Store doesn’t allow much at all.”
Facebook has previously commented on Apple’s App Store guidelines on games. The company said the rules weren’t fair, especially since the majority of users wouldn’t use the app to play.
AppleInsider Staff have tested some of the games. Some refuse to start while others direct you to the Facebook app. The games don’t appear to be downloaded to your device, but instead streamed as a video that you can control with touch input.
Users who open the Facebook app will see that a dedicated game block has been added to the UI. We found that Angry Birds works within the Facebook app where it didn’t work within the web app.
The inclusion of web games on the Facebook app appears to be a direct violation of Apple’s App Store guidelines. If the gameplay is a video stream in the app, it is against Apple’s requirements that each game have its own app store listing. If it were randomly loading code – which it doesn’t seem to be – it would also be a violation. It is unknown if this is intentional or a mix-up by Facebook or the app developer.