Actual Decent Gaming Coming to Facebook?

When someone tells you that they’ve become addicted to playing games through Facebook, the mind immediately conjures up images of someone hunched over a laptop snorting as they milk a dozen cows or place a ferris wheel in the corner of their plot, after first clearing it of broccoli, of course.  What you don’t expect, however, is to glance over and see them guide Geralt of Rivia into battle against enemy hordes, ebbing as he meticulously slaughters them with ease.  Yes, Witcher 2… on Facebook.  Cloud gaming may not be groundbreaking technology in terms of today’s advances, with the ability to play streaming games having been around for seven years and companies such as OnLive becoming synonymous with the process over the last two.

What Gaikai have done, however, is to take this one step further by implementing their tech into a Facebook app, allowing for more immediate access to their catalogue.  There are those who would argue that the app simply acts as a gateway to their own dedicated service, and they’d probably be right, but it’s still quite an achievement to be able to turn around and claim that they can allow “real” games to be played through Facebook.  Ultimately, that’s exactly what they’ve done, regardless of how simplistic the tech (presumably) is and within 73 seconds from selecting it, I was playing The Witcher 2 from within the Facebook framework.

Games can either be played within the Facebook site, as a pop-out window, or full-screen

With yesterday’s launch, Gaikai have made a selection of free-to-play demos available, from the whimsical Orcs Must Die through to triple-A titles such as Saints Row The Third, Witcher 2 and Dead Rising 2.  While this may have the majority of employers running for the IT department to finally block Facebook once and for all, if they haven’t done so already, it also has the potential to introduce a more in-depth and immersive range of titles to Facebook’s audience of typically-casual gamers.  At a time when high street retailers are suffering from huge losses, bringing fresh blood to the core games can only be a good thing.

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