Kotaku is reporting that Crytek, the company behind the CryEngine technology and the Crysis series of visually high-end first-person shooters, is in advanced stages of a new social gaming network that they’re calling GFACE. Yes, GFACE. I’m as baffled as you about the name, “game+Facebook” maybe?
Anyway, what the service known as GFACE actually claims to do sounds pretty cool. It runs completely in the browser and lets you do all the sorts of social things you would expect from your Facebook, Google+ or Twitter – add friends, post about your interests, discover new people, and plenty more. You can also meet up with people online and enjoy media-type things together, sort of like how you can watch a movie with friends in an Xbox Live party.
And of course, you can partner up and play games together. But this is the surprising part - all the game’s are streamed from the cloud on GFACE’s end, similar to how the OnLive system works. There’s a drag and drop party creation system that Kotaku likens to Battlefield 3‘s Battlelog, and then everybody plugs into the game on GFACE’s servers from their individual locations.
The interesting bit is that the type of gameplay seems to scale depending on what device you’re using. Like the graphic above, someone can be playing a first-person shooter on their PC while other players are connected to the game via their mobile devices, but with secondary roles. The person on the iPad has a commander role from a top-down perspective and the person on the iPhone-lookalike is directing a support weapon.
It’s a pretty exciting prospect thinking about being able to play games with people online in this fashion, utilizing different devices and gameplay perspectives all in the same game. I need another social network like I need a hole in my head, but the other features of GFACE sound pretty interesting as well. That name, though. Yeesh.
You can see a video of GFACE in action at the original Kotaku article or the GFACE website. The UI is bananas, everything is so smooth and high-tech feeling. I’m actually eager to check it out. Right now GFACE is in closed beta, but whenever it finally launches it will be interesting to see if it’s able to make an impact in the fledgling streaming game market or the nearly-impossible-to-compete-in social network market.