Facebook, Inc (NASDAQ: FB) seeks to get more immersive and serious about gaming. The social network announced a new partnership with Unity Technologies to establish a new dedicated PC gaming platform starting yesterday, August 18.
Both companies are selecting a limited group of developers to grant them immediate access to a closed alpha build of the new Facebook functionality on Unity Engine version 5.4. This function would allow Unity editors to deliver games quickly and directly to the social network’s vast user base.
The partnership hopes to achieve an optimum streamlined process when exporting Unity-based titles onto Facebook. More game makers are expected to join throughout the testing period, according to a press release posted on Facebook’s official blog.
The network is known for offering plenty of casual game titles such as the classic Farmville, Bejeweled Blitz, Game of Thrones: Ascent, and the highly popular Candy Crush Saga. Besides, Facebook has reportedly paid out over $8 billion to developers since 2010, according to an article by CNET.
Online games have been a significant income source for Facebook
However, the corporation took the first steps towards hardcore gaming when it invested $2 billion to acquired Oculus VR, the maker of the Oculus Rift headset, in March 2014.
On May, Facebook launched a beta version of a platform desktop app called “Facebook Games Arcade,” though the project was soon dismissed to make way for the upcoming PC gaming software.
Unity supports over 21 platforms, including the Oculus Rift
The Unity Engine has gained tremendous recognition since its release in 2005.
Debuting on Apple’s OS X during its World Wide Developers Conference, the cross-platform framework made its way to various consoles and devices such as the Wii U, Playstation 4, Xbox 360/One, Blackberry, and iOS.
Both indie and major developers have used the software to deliver critically acclaimed titles, from Square Enix’s “Deus Ex: The Fall” to the more recent FPS, “Superhot”, as well as a current favorite, Pokemon GO.
Steam may encounter a new rival in Facebook
The company has not revealed any further information about its PC platform.
However, a possible reason behind the new partnership with Unity could be that the network will need a way to sell Oculus VR games to its more than 650 million players, and the platform would help to achieve this goal, according to an article by Timothy J. Seppala for Engadget.
— Unity (@unity3d) August 18, 2016
Besides, the upcoming gaming site seeks to compete with more established digital distributors like Valve’s Steam, the current leader of the market.
Interested developers can apply to test the social network’s alpha build of the new Unity-to-Facebook function before September 1.