Is Facebook’s new Gameroom PC gaming platform really a Steam rival?

Facebook has officially launched its Gameroom Windows desktop gaming platform, now available for download on Windows 7 and above.

The platform hosts web, ported mobile, and native games in a dedicated PC app, and has been referred to widely as Facebook’s answer to Steam – the hugely popular PC gaming platform.

For the time being, Gameroom is a decidedly smaller affair in comparison to the behemoth that is Steam, aimed at less hardcore gamers.

Games can’t be larger than 200MB at this point, although Facebook may up that limit to 500MB in the future.

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TrustedReviews Games Editor Brett Phipps said: “Facebook is trying to tackle the PC gaming market by barely dipping a toe in the water.

“Gameroom has been called a “Steam rival” elsewhere, but the app lacks the library of Steam, and also has restrictions which makes it seem very impractical.

Apps can’t be larger than 500MB to work on the network, meaning many of the top-of-the-line games won’t come to the platform.

“It’s hard to see what audience Facebook is trying to capture with Gameroom, as it’s quite clear it doesn’t stand a chance of reaching hardcore gamers.”

At this point, then, Facebook seems to be targeting those casual players who want the option to play their favourite Facebook games outside of the social network’s newsfeed.

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But since the firm acquired Oculus in 2014, there has been much speculation about its gaming ambitions, suggesting Facebook could have some serious plans in the works to entice more hardcore gamers to its products.

The company announced the new Gameroom launch at Unity’s Unite game development conference in Los Angeles.

Unity is the firm that developed the Unity cross-platform game engine, which Facebook uses to allow developers to publish their games on its services and is available in the Gameroom developer beta.

Facebook support will also come with Unity 5.6 when it launches early next year, so there’s certainly more to come from Gameroom in the future.

For now, it doesn’t look like Steam is going anywhere, but we’re sure Facebook has more up its sleeve so stay tuned for further developments in the near future.

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Let us know what you think of Facebook’s new PC gaming platform in the comments.

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