Thursday, 2 February 2012

Crytek Announced a Web Browser Based Social Cloud Gaming Platform Named GFACE

Cloud gaming announcements are piling up these days. Now Crytek, the maker of Crysis and CryEngine, wants to join in the fray. But they are not only tackling cloud gaming platforms like OnLive, Gaikai, Otoy, Playcast and G-cluster, they also want to go after the social media giants Facebook and Twitter. Crytek stated that cloud gaming wouldn't be viable for some time, well it looks like they want to make it viable themselves and have been working on it for some time.

Crytek's social and cloud gaming platform is called GFACE.

GFACE is an online multiplayer gaming service trying to take online gaming on a PC and other devices to a very slick and sociable place. I wonder what GFACE stands for? Maybe Gamers FACE or the Facebook of gamers.

While saying that the product is run by "a small team with big ideas", GFACE's creators acknowledge they are "backed up by a well known critically acclaimed game studio: Crytek. We share not only technology and vision, but the commitment to deliver the highest possible quality." The team behind GFACE is part of Crytek, with inspiration for the service credited to CEO Cevat Yerli. All the group's vacant job positions are all hosted on Crytek's website.

“We’re developing a unifying technology to create high quality social and gaming experiences on all platforms including browser, smartphones, tablets, etc,” said CryEngine director of global business development Carl Jones last october.

As a network, GFACE is built around friends lists, obviously, but with a few key alterations to the way most existing services do things. For one, it's got embedded video chat right there in the framework. It also has a drag-and-drop invite system similar to the way Battlefield 3's Battlelog runs, and again like Battlelog, GFACE operates in a web browser.

And that's where it gets interesting. Unlike Battlelog, which was designed for a single game, GFACE's browser plug-in also operates as a streaming agent, meaning you don't actually play the games off your PC, you'd be streaming them in from off-site, ala OnLive.

So, like you can see in the multi-device shot below, the guy on the PC plays a traditional 3D first-person shooter game, in this case Crytek's Free-To-Play online shooter Warface, while other players on iOS devices play command or support roles designed specifically for their hardware. Yet they're all playing the same game, because it all - in theory, at least - runs in a browser and not on the actual device.

After Crytek worked on many things Cry, do I smell another recurring theme here? First Warface, now GFACE. What next? It looks like Crytek is finally getting a face.

GFACE is powered by the Seed Engine, a realtime cloud based technology platform that
redefines the interaction between people and media. It creates living social media
containers that they call Seeds. Seeds are context aware and unify all types of communications, people and media.

The Engine intelligently connects all Seeds together into the Seed Graph. Utilizing
the Seed Graph enables the seamless experience of realtime search, recommendation and discovery on GFACE. Allowing people to discover interests and experience them together with their friends. Live.

It's also taking a page out of Xbox Live's books by letting you access those same friends lists and functionality while watching media.

Perhaps most ambitious, though, is the fact gaming is just part of what Crytek wants GFACE to do. There's a whole raft of social applications similar to what Facebook and Twitter currently do built into the system as well, which you can see in the video below.

GFACE is currently in closed beta. You need Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox to apply for the GFACE closed beta.

SOURCES: Kotaku, VG247.

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