The social media company will team up with Unity Technologies to build a PC gaming platform. Unity, a leading game development platform that helped power Pokemon Go, will build a new functionality that streamlines the process of publishing games to Facebook's 650 million gamers.
It will bring more developers to an ecosystem that paid out over $2.5 billion to web-game developers alone in 2015, Unity said. And that could be key for companies like Zynga or Glu Mobile who are looking to be more social, said Mike Olson, managing director and senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray.
"What that does is kind of cause all these game developers around the world to salivate and say, 'Hey this is a great opportunity for us to make new games that can immediately be published to the Facebook platform,'" Olson said.
By building a rival for popular gaming hub Steam, Facebook isn't competing with mega-franchises fromActivision Blizzard or EA, who make games like "Call of Duty" and "Madden," Olson said. Instead, it gives a new audience to the makers of "Words with Friends" and the "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" game.
"The old view of gaming — of sitting in your basement playing alone — is over," Olson said. "Now it's about multiplayer games on console or desktop, or even on mobile with games like 'Candy Crush.' So I think this new platform for desktop gaming is part of that strategy."
Disclosure: Piper Jaffray makes a market in shares of ATVI, TTWO, GME and/or EA.