Backed by venture capital funding, Gaikai enables users to stream console-quality games over the internet without the need for sophisticated local hardware.
The company has now introduced a beta of a Facebook app that will eventually offer more than 50 titles to play on the world’s largest social network.
Launched yesterday in the US and Europe, the Beta v1.0 enables participants to access a number of games for free depending on their location.
Saints Row – The Third (US)
Dead Rising 2 – Off the Record (US)
Magicka (US & Europe)
Sniper – Ghost Warrior (US & Europe)
The Witcher 2 – Assassins of Kings (US & Europe)
Orcs Must Die! (US & Europe)
Farming Simulator 2011 (US & Europe)
Gaikai chief executive David Perry said that people “don’t want to leave Facebook to play games”, as demonstrated by the huge success of social games maker Zynga.
“Cloud gaming means that the game doesn’t need to be downloaded and run on your computer, it literally means the game runs out on the internet, in the cloud, with the experience being streamed to the players,” he said.
“Most video game publishers are now seeking to grow their digital customer base and unlike movie and music services like Netflix and Spotify, Gaikai gives the game publishers relationships with the customers.”
He added: “The power of Facebook is not only in the vast size of the connected audience, but also in the quality of the social ties and interactions that occur within the network. The Facebook social graph fuels our mantra ‘Try it for free’, ‘Share it if you like it’, ‘Buy it if you love it’.”
Facebook beta participants will need to be in Gaikai coverage areas with a broadband internet connection and Java installed in their browser.
Gaikai works on any PC or Mac using Windows, Mac OS or Linux. It also supports all major browsers including Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
By streaming games online, video games publishers are able to reach hundreds of millions of new players. Facebook has more than 800m users worldwide.
“Gaikai’s technology allows us to deliver our games to a wider audience,” said Kevin Kraff, the vice president of global brand management at THQ.
“As content creators it’s not only paramount that we give our players great entertainment but also that we give them a choice in how they access it.
“Streaming inside Facebook is not only revolutionary, but is something that both new and existing players will benefit from.”