Facebook Acquires Game Streaming Company PlayGiga to Boost Cloud and VR Tech

Alessio Palumbo
PlayGiga and Facebook

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Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has acquired PlayGiga, a Madrid-based company founded in 2013 that launched a cloud game streaming service available in a few countries such as Spain, Italy, Chile, Argentina, Qatar, and the United States. The company boasts to have patent-pending technology capable of streaming games from the cloud with ultra-low latency and compression.

The news report came from CNBC, though Facebook has since confirmed everything with the following tweet. Truth to be told, Spanish newspaper Cinco Dias was the first one to cover the upcoming acquisition; its sources mentioned a €70 million cost for Facebook.

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For its part, PlayGiga posted a brief message on its official site.

Moving on to something new!

We are excited to announce that the PlayGiga team is moving on to something new. We are continuing our work in cloud gaming, now with a new mission. We want to thank all of our partners and customers for their support over the years.

Just sit back and enjoy the magic of cloud gaming.

This sounds a lot like Sony's acquisition of Gaikai, one of the very first companies alongside OnLive to believe in cloud game streaming. In July 2012, Sony spent $380 million to acquire Gaikai, whose technology became the backbone of PlayStation Now.

Facebook may be poised to do the same, positioning itself against Google Stadia, Microsoft's Project xCloud, NVIDIA's GeForce Now, PS Now, and others (with rumors of Amazon and Verizon also readying to enter the market).

But there is more, as PlayGiga also recently pioneered an experiment that could very well turn out to be useful to Facebook's Oculus VR division. At the Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, PlayGiga demonstrated a VR gaming prototype running via the cloud on Vodafone's 5G commercial network.

Facebook has been pushing towards VR portability with the Oculus Quest, the highly successful standalone headset released this year. However, the Oculus Quest features relatively limited computing power due to its Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. Needless to say, having access to virtually unlimited computing power via the cloud at 5G's low latency could be the perfect way to deliver high-quality, yet fully portable VR gaming.

We'll keep a very close eye on what Facebook does with PlayGiga after this acquisition.

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