Facebook has become the latest company to provide cloud gaming services on iOS, but you will no longer be able to access it through the App Store. Starting today, you can visit the Facebook Gaming website and add a Progressive Web Application (PWA) as a shortcut to services on your iPhone or iPad. To do this, visit the platform’s website and click on the “Add to Home Screen” option on the Safari share sheet.
Cloud gaming, sometimes called on-demand games or games as a service, is an online game that runs video games on a remote server and streams them directly to the user’s device, or, more generally speaking, plays games remotely from the cloud. It is in contrast with traditional game media, in which the game is played locally on the user’s video game console, personal computer, or mobile device.
This method has several disadvantages, in particular, it forces users to continuously maintain high-speed Internet connections with external organizations. This built-in barrier to entry not only prevents users who want to play video games in areas where there is no Internet connection but also prevents players from owning copies of their personal software and permanently locks users in the lease agreement, which is binding on purchases. From the game to the solvency of the transmission provider (if the company goes bankrupt, the game ceases to exist). It is also wasteful in nature and has an insurmountable delay built into the distribution model, forcing users to connect to potentially geographically distant servers with the sole purpose of sending command input and retrieving the video and audio streams viewed. Once and then discard immediately.
This is not an elegant solution, but it is the same solution used by Amazon and Microsoft. When Apple changed its guidelines to allow cloud gaming clients on iOS in September last year, it stated that it must separately download games available on streaming services from the App Store. Both Microsoft and Facebook stated that this requirement is inconsistent with the way all other platforms treat cloud gaming services.
“We’ve come to the same conclusion as others: web apps are the only option for streaming cloud games on iOS at the moment,” Vivek Sharma, Facebook’s vice-president of gaming, told The Verge of today’s launch. “As many have pointed out, Apple’s policy to ‘allow’ cloud games on the App Store doesn’t allow for much at all. Apple’s requirement for each cloud game to have its own page, go through review and appear in search listings defeats the purpose of cloud gaming.”
The process of adding a web application is very complicated, and when you visit Facebook’s gaming website in Safari for the first time, it will include a short tutorial. You should also know how to navigate to the company’s website in the first place. The reason for this is that the App Store guidelines prohibit developers from using their apps to direct people to websites with alternative payment systems provided by Apple, and you need to pay for in-game purchases.