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article imageFacebook rolls out games to every Messenger user

By James Walker     May 3, 2017 in Technology
Facebook has announced it is expanding the roll-out of Messenger's Instant Games platform to every user. The feature lets you play competitive games with friends from within the Messenger app, including support for score boards and tournaments.
Facebook announced Instant Games back in November. It followed earlier trials of the feature with a single game that let you play basic titles in Messenger conversations. Instant Games launched with a wider selection of 17 games, introducing a dedicated Games tab in Messenger and debuting the new competitive features.
This week, Facebook revealed it's expanding Instant Games to reach more people and include additional functionality. In an effort to cultivate a proper gaming ecosystem on Messenger, it's handing developers the ability to create more sophisticated gaming apps. New styles of play have been added and the community aspect is being reemphasised to users.
Facebook has implemented its top requested feature for Instant Games, support for turn-based titles. These can hook into leaderboards to showcase the best players' performance. To increase engagement with the platform, Facebook's also allowing developers to create bots. These will message players with information about new game updates, encouraging them to regain their place on the leaderboard.
Initially, only a handful of Instant Games are compatible with the new features. Zynga's Words With Friends and Blackstorm's EverWing are amongst Facebook's headline titles. The company also said that popular Miniclip pool game 8 Ball Pool will be added to the platform in the near future. It will take advantage of the expanded capabilities to offer a more engaging experience.
Facebook said the new features "allow developers to create unique and sophisticated experiences and Game bots to help game makers surface exciting features like new levels and rewards."
"When developers start to take advantage of these new capabilities everyone wins with more dynamic and engaging gaming experiences," the company added.
While Messenger may not be your first location to look for games, Facebook said the popularity of the feature is growing rapidly. Instant Games now has over 50 titles available with more arriving every week. Facebook is using the ease of multiplayer and competitive play enabled by Messenger's social links to promote Instant Games to users.
Another key advantage of the platform is that games don't need to be downloaded and installed. Instant Games stream from the cloud and don't consume any disk space. This avoids the problem of app fatigue that's troubling traditional game developers. Instant Games doesn't yet support ads or in-game purchases though, improving the user experience but limiting its capacity to make money.
Instant Games will be rolling out to all of Messenger's 1.2 billion users over the next few days. Initially, the games will only be available on iOS and Android devices. Facebook hasn't signalled whether an expansion to the Messenger web app could arrive in the future.
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