It looks like Steam is about to get a little bit more competition. Facebook and Unity Technologies have teamed up to create their own PC-gaming platform. The collaboration builds a new functionality in Unity that helps it to easily export and publish games on Facebook.
Elliot Solomon, Unity’s Vice President of Business Development, remarked, “Integrating tools that provide effortless access to Facebook’s network is a key part of helping developers find the success they deserve.”
Unity Engine - Image from Iwan Gabovitch
Unity will now be able to reach the 650 million people who play Facebook-connected games. At its peak in 2014, Facebook earned over $257 million USD from mobile gaming. This number dropped to $197 million last quarter, however, the company has still been able to generously support web-game developers. In 2015 alone, Facebook was able to pay over $2.5 billion USD to web-game developers. Unity developers previously worked with the Facebook SDK in order to create web games.
The upcoming Unity 5.4 will allow developers to build and export games to Facebook’s website and desktop app. Publishers will able to offer more casual games on iOS and Android and more hardcore games on the PC desktop app. The PC platform will be able to run on a variety of platforms, not just Windows. The desktop app will not incorporate other aspects of Facebook like the News Feed or profiles. Like Steam, gamers will also be able to discover new titles.
A limited group of developers currently have immediate access to a closed-alpha build of Unity 5.4. Game developers can apply to join the beta until August 31st. It is currently unclear how Facebook will provide the revenue split.
Facebook and Unity have worked together before. Oculus and Unity have worked closely together since the inception of Oculus in 2012. Facebook acquired Oculus VR in March 2014.