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Don't Bother with Facebook's New Steam 'Competitor'

Facebook's official gaming platform is finally here, but don't expect it to overtake Steam anytime soon. Available as a free download for Windows 7 and up, Facebook Gameroom is a portal to casual games like Angry Birds and Words With Friends that currently seems more suited for former Farmville addicts than hardcore PC gamers.

The Gameroom app's slick dark blue interface seems to take some cues from Steam, but that's where the similarities end. Instead of offering you games such as Skyrim, Grand Theft Auto V and The Witcher 3, Gameroom will greet you with such hits as Candy Crush Saga, Trivia Crack and Mob Wars: La Cosa Nostra. If you played Facebook's browser games back in the day (or simply play a lot of mobile titles), you'll have a good idea of what to expect here.

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The games are at least all free to play, though are sometimes supported by ads. Gameroom titles are neatly organized into categories such as action, sports and role-playing, but I've yet to find anything noteworthy that I couldn't just download on my phone.

As Gameroom is a Facebook service, every game is accompanied by a chat room, which can be useful if you're looking for opponents in Tetris Battle or just want to casually chat. However, the in-game chats I've seen have run the gamut from lewd to unintelligible, so don't go in expecting enlightening conversation.

If casual browser games are your thing, Gameroom offers an organized hub for finding, playing and talking about them, and it's completely free. Facebook seems to be courting developers to make games for the platform, though it's hard to imagine many Triple-A companies wanting their games sandwiched between Angry Birds and Candy Crush.

Gameroom is a perfectly good way to kill some time with a bunch of free-to-play games, but those expecting the second coming of Steam should look elsewhere.