Do you feel like playing Pac-Man or Space Invaders against your friends? Now it’s as easy as sending a message when you do it in Facebook Messenger
We have realized in the last two years that Facebook wants to turn its Messenger into far more than just another instant messaging app. The service has become a communications platform for companies and businesses and a broad-based chatbot platform. Now it is also becoming a quasi-social games console contained in your and your friends’ computer or smartphone.
You can include your friends and compete with them
The new feature, to be called Instant Games, enables users to play online games without having to download or install anything. At launch, 17 games are already available, including classics like Bandai Namco Entertainments’s original Pac-Man, Taito’s original Space Invaders, Taito’s Arkanoid (another classic), EverWing, Galaga, Track & Field 100M, and other trivia games.
The Instant Games feature also enables users to play the games with their Facebook friends. Among other things, users can chat about the game, cheer for players, make challenges, share recommendations for games, compare results, and view a personal game history.
It is clear that Facebook wanted to make the feature intuitive; you don’t have to download or install anything. Just start a chat with your Facebook friend, click on the joystick icon, and select a game that both of you want to play. Facebook also enables users to discover new games through a search on Messenger or by a post on their feed: in other words, game advertisements on feed.
The new feature is first becoming available in only 30 countries, including Canada, Great Britain, Puerto Rico, Norway, Taiwan, and Israel. It is available in the web version of Facebook and on mobile for the iOS 8 and Android 5.0 or higher versions. The new feature puts Facebook in step with other messaging apps that enable their users to play Viber and LINE games with each other.
Facebook implanted a basketball game a few months ago as a hidden Easter egg. Now, for the first time, the company is integrating gaming in its messaging platform that reaches over a billion users. Over the past year, the company spent quite a lot of effort and resources on gaming and launching its Gameroom PC platform, which looks like Steam for casual games. Facebook also recently announced that it was cooperating with American games developer Blizzard. In this framework, gamers will be able to broadcast their games live on Facebook. This step is obviously designed to compete with Twitch, which has been acquired by Amazon.com.