Facebook Strikes A Deal With Unity Technologies To Create A Competitor To Valve’s Steam Platform

Written By Joss Wood on August 19, 2016 - Last Updated on January 22, 2018

[toc]Unity Technologies has announced that it has made a deal with Facebook to integrate the Unity platform with Facebook.

Facebook can better compete with mobile gaming

Game developers will also benefit from “an all-new PC gaming platform currently in development.”

The deal will allow developers using the Unity platform to offer their games to Facebook’s audience of over 650 million gamers.

Unity’s existing Android and iOS functionality, extended to PCs will help to close the gap between Facebook gaming and mobile device gaming.

Facebook gaming partners such as Zynga lost a lot of ground when the trend for playing online games switched to mobile.

Elliot Solomon, vice president of business development at Unity Technologies, said:

“Developers channel their talent and passion into creating amazing games, but development is only part of the challenge. Integrating tools that provide effortless access to Facebook’s network is a key part of helping developers find the success they deserve.”

As part of the first phase in the project, Unity is selecting “a limited group of developers to receive immediate access to a closed-alpha build of the new export to Facebook functionality in Unity version 5.4.”

Interested developers have until Aug. 31 to apply to Unity, although more slots will be offered as the project develops.

“Our mission is to give people the power to discover, play and share the games they love with the people they care about,” commented Leo Olebe, director of global games partnerships at Facebook. “Unity is the world’s leading game development platform. It’s great to be working with them to help developers find new audiences for the games they pour their hearts into.”

Competition for Valve’s Steam platform

There is nothing explicit in Unity’s press release, but on the face of it, the functionality the company is developing looks very much like it could be a competitor to the Valve Corporation’s Steam platform.

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The Steamworks API gives game developers a similar level of connectivity with the Steam game distribution process as Unity is creating for Facebook.

Add in Facebook’s social network capacity, and all that is missing is a blog feature to create a complete competitor to Steam.

Data collected by Steam Spy estimated that games distributed on the Steam platform in 2015 generated $3.5 billion of revenue from purchases alone, excluding any in-game sales.

That is a very attractive market size that is worthy of Facebook’s corporate attention.

Esports betting may see third party benefits

Facebook’s cautious approach to gambling is not likely to change, so an increase in gaming on the social media giant may provide few opportunities for the esports betting industry.

However, the next big thing in esports, on which esportsbooks may be able to lay odds, could well find a beginning on Facebook. An improved gaming channel to the Facebook user base may present unexpected opportunities which esports betting operators could find to exploit.

Image credit: Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com

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Joss Wood

Joss Wood holds an English degree from the University of Birmingham and also earned a master’s degree in organizational development from the University of Manchester. Joss has a special focus on the international online gambling market, though he also writes extensively on US regulated markets, sports betting, and esports betting.

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