Facebook has announced a partnership with Unity Technologies on what it claims represents 'an all-new PC gaming platform currently in development.'
Browser-based gaming on Facebook has long held significant appeal for developers eager to reach a largely captive billion-strong audience. Figures from 2009 suggested that free-to-play titles on the site make around $20 per user
, and the platform has over the years attracted big-name developers from John Romero
to Sid Meier
In the years since Facebook's launch, the technologies behind the platform have become increasingly more capable. While the first Facebook games were little more than choose-your-own-adventures or simple 2D cookie-clicker-clones, technologies like HTML5 and WebGL have allowed for surprisingly complex games to be rendered entirely in-browser - up to and including first-person twitch shooters. The site is now building on this through a renewed partnership with engine maker Unity Technologies, based on the latter's Unity 5.4 game engine.
'As an extension of the existing relationship, Unity will integrate support for the Facebook platform, including an all-new PC gaming platform currently in development,
' Facebook claimed in the announcement
. 'Unity and Facebook are joining forces to build new functionality into Unity that streamlines the process for exporting and publishing games onto Facebook. This will allow Unity developers to quickly deliver their games to the more than 650 million players who enjoy playing Facebook-connected games every month -- a massive and highly-engaged gaming community that enabled Facebook to pay out over $2.5 billion to just web-game developers in 2015 alone.
Full details of the 'all-new PC gaming platform
' have not been released, but developers with Unity 5.4 titles are invited to apply to the closed alpha