Facebook is teaming up with Unity to build a gaming platform for PC

With more casual users playing games on mobile devices instead of Facebook, the social media giant may be looking to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Steam.


Facebook and Unityannounced an initiative to broaden and update Facebook's game development tools. Additionally, the tandem announced a digital games platform currently in development that could be positioned to compete against the likes of Steam and Origin.

"As an extension of the existing relationship, Unity will integrate support for the Facebook platform, including an all-new PC gaming platform currently in development," per the announcement.

Although Facebook isn't ready to dish major details yet,Tech Crunch conducted an interview with both companies and came away with plenty of info. The platform will strip away distractions like newsfeeds and concentrate on delivering a pure gaming environment. It will run traditional Facebook games like Farmville, along with games ported over from iOS and Android as well as triple-A and indie games like those commonly associated with Steam and consoles.

Besides launching a digital platform, Facebook's plan to expand its game development tools includes a bolstered Facebook.com gaming experience. That, combined with hosting a wide array of game types, give credence to the possibility of Facebook making a run at Steam. Valve's kingpin has 125 million registered users, but Facebook has 1.71 billion active monthly users as of the second quarter of 2016—most of whom are likely to enjoy at least one game playable on Facebook's forthcoming platform.

Furthermore, Facebook probably wants to take back some of the casual market share it's lost to mobile and tablet devices in recent years. Before the App Store and after Nintendo's Wii, Facebook established a reputation as the source for casual gaming experiences.

The social media company plans to give developers an as-yet-unspecified revenue split. Tech Crunch notes that the industry standard is 30 percent; that seems a logical starting point.

Facebook made its initial foray into downloadable games platforms earlier this year when it unveiled Facebook Games Arcade. It has since dropped that brand and refers to its upcoming venture as the "new Facebook PC gaming platform." Other recent ventures includeacquiring Oculus for $2 billion in 2014, and working with juggernauts like Blizzard Entertainment to integrate moresocial and streaming functions.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

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