Facebook avoids Apple with cloud-gaming launch

Facebook has launched its first "cloud-streamed" video games but is not offering them to iPhones or iPads.

Initially, only five titles already available as standalone smartphone apps will be accessible - via the main Facebook and Facebook Gaming apps on Android and Facebook's website on PCs.

Later, it may add "all types of games".

But it is not offering the product on Apple's iOS mobile operating system because "we don't know if launching on the App Store is a viable path".

The two US technology giants clashed earlier this year, when Apple prevented Facebook from offering more basic "mini-games" via the iOS version of its Facebook Gaming app on the grounds this broke its App Store rules.

Apple has since clarified it is possible to offer cloud-based games via its mobile Safari browser instead - the route Microsoft's Xbox xCloud and Amazon's Luna cloud-gaming services are pursuing.

But Facebook said "there are limitations to what we can offer" via this route and made clear it was unhappy with the current state of affairs.

"While our iOS path is uncertain, one thing is clear," blogged Jason Rubin, Facebook's vice-president of Play.

"Apple treats games differently and continues to exert control over a very precious resource."