Facebook Messenger launches Instant Games – TechCrunch

 In Technology

Bored while you wait for someone to text back? Now you can challenge friends for high scores on Facebook Messenger’s new Instant Games, like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Words With Friends Frenzy. Available right from your message threads, they load in seconds since they’re built on the HTML5 mobile web standard, rather than having to be downloaded like clunky native apps.

Facebook hopes some friendly competition will get you to spend even more time in Messenger. You compete asynchronously via high scores instead of directly at the same time, so it’s convenient to try your luck any time. And eventually, Instant Games could earn Facebook ad dollars from developers promoting their games, or a cut of payments, though there are no in-game purchases allowed yet.

Instant Games launches today in 30 countries including the U.S., with 17 games from classic developers like Bandai Namco, Konami, and Taito as well as newer studios like Zynga and King. Instant Games are available on newer iOS and Android devices, and can be found by hitting the game controller icon in your Facebook Messenger threads next to the photos and stickers buttons. You can also play across platforms from Facebook on desktop thanks to a little overlaid phone screen.

Which games should you try first? Check out our review list, “The best Facebook Messenger games to play right now”

Hands-On: Dicey Controls, But Frictionless And Addicting

I played all 17 of the games, and was impressed by how they quickly load in three to ten seconds considering the high quality graphics and gameplay, as well as how Messenger automatically shares high scores and leaderboards so its easy to challenge people. Since most of the games are simple to pick up and take around 30 seconds to play a full round, anyone can slot them into their day.

  1. everwing

    EverWing

  2. galaga

    Galaga

  3. words-with-friends-frenzy

    Words With Friends: Frenzy

  4. hex

    Hex FRVR

  5. brick-pop

    Brick Pop

  6. templar-2048

    Templar 2048

  7. pac-man

    Pac-Man

  8. bust-a-move-blitz

    Bust-A-Move Blitz

  9. wordalot

    Wordalot

  10. shuffle-cats-mini

    Shuffle Cats Mini

  11. track-and-field

    Track & Field 100M

  12. space-invaders

    Space Invaders

  13. arkanoid

    Arkanoid

  14. tribez

    The Tribez: Puzzle Rush

  15. zookeeper

    Zookeeper

  16. endless-lake

    Endless Lake

  17. 2020-connect

    Connect 2020

The most frustrating part is the spotty controls that can quickly get you killed in games like Pac-Man and Arkanoid. But an even bigger concern might be just how successful Messenger Instant Games could be. They’re so frictionless and it’s so fun to one-up friends for high scores that I already felt pangs of addiction as I shirked work to play.

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