Facebook, Unity Technologies set to launch gaming platform

August 19, 2016

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-Courtesy Facebook
-Courtesy Facebook

CALIFORNIA: Social media giant, Facebook has announced plans to team up with gaming engine developer, Unity Technologies, in order to expand their services for gamers and developers, the company announced on its official blog for developers Thursday.

Facebook was once a hub for social gaming ─ earning and paying big money.

Despite decreasing user engagement, Facebook paid off $2.5 billion to game developers in 2015 alone and has paid off a total sum of $8 billion since 2010.

At it's peak, Facebook was earning $257 million in payment taxes (last quarter of 2014). Their revenue slipped to $197 million last quarter as casual users are increasingly shifting towards mobile apps for their gaming needs.

The partnership with Unity Technologies is a strategic move for Facebook to re-engage the over 650 million active gamers on the network.

Unity's global development platform for creating 2D, 3D, VR and AR games and experiences will provide a streamlined process for developers to create, publish and deliver their games to the Facebook community. Unity will also integrate support for the new platform, including an all-new PC gaming platform currently in development.

"Integrating tools that provide effortless access to Facebook’s network is a key part of helping developers find the success they deserve" says Unity’s VP of biz dev Elliot Solomon in a talk with TechCrunch.

Competing for attention

Facebook's dedicated, downloadable desktop gaming platform will allow publishers to offer their iOS and Android games on desktop in addition to providing them on the social media platform.

Details are sparse at the moment but TechCrunch reveals that the PC platform will run on different types of PC operating systems (not just Windows) and "provide a distraction-free gaming environment".

Along with the casual Facebook games, the PC platform will also most likely support "Immersive" gameplay, which has so far been the domain of consoles or Valve's Steam marketplace.

Steam marketplace has over 125 million monthly users. The developing PC gaming platform is likely to put Facebook in direct competition with Steam over this significant market share.

Facebook has opened applications for interested game developers to join and test the closed-alpha build in Unity Version 5.4 ─ the build will provide efficient export functionality to publish games on Facebook .

Interested developers can apply directly to Facebook by August 31, 2016.