GFACE aims to open up cross-platform gaming with a social networking twist
The developers of the widely-used Crytek graphics engine are trying their hand at something very new - a social network with cross-platform cloud gaming integration. The idea with GFACE is that you would not only use the desktop browser to arrange and launch matches with friends (much like Battlefield 3's Battlelog), but the games themselves would also be rendered directly within the browser, with the bulk of the game rendering done remotely. With some OnLive-esque mobile apps, players will be able to play the same game across PC, smartphone and tablet, albeit with slightly different roles tailored to each experience. Although the screenshots here show some pretty intense games, GFACE will also be supporting casual 2D and 3D games.
GFACE is going to be a lot more than just a gaming platform, though. First and foremost, it will be a social network like any other, complete with Google Plus-style grouping, update stream and media sharing akin to Facebook. They're hoping to share the movie-watching experience too, much like the recently-canned Netflix party mode on the Xbox 360. Given that most of GFACE's social features already exist in some form on other more popular networks, I suspect this browser-based cross-platform cloud gaming deal will be the big selling point for GFACE; that said, I would almost prefer it it if they cut out all of the other stuff and just stuck to games.
I haven't had a chance to give OnLive an honest shot yet, but there are definitely a bunch of PC and Xbox games that I could see translating well to the tablet. If GFACE can offer tailored snippets of gameplay to different mobile platforms, I could see a wider variety of games becoming viable for mobile. Right now, it feels like too many devs are simply trying to drag and drop the console experience onto phones and tablets, and it's kind of an unnatural transition.
In any case, if you want to sign up for the GFACE closed beta, head on over here. For now, they don't have game support, but I'm sure it's on the way.