Facebook announces Facebook Instant Games, a collection of titles which can be played within Facebook Messenger or the Facebook News Feed on iOS and Android.
While Facebook is mostly associated with its purchase of Oculus when it comes to the gaming industry, the communications giant is now launching a brand new gaming platform which ties in nicely with both Facebook Messenger and the Facebook news feed. The cross-platform service is based on HTML5, and is now launching with 17 different games available in its catalogue which can be accessed straight from Facebook via a controller icon on both Android and iOS devices.
iPhone users can be forgiven for experiencing an uncanny sense of deja vu, as Facebook's move to host chat-based games comes only months after a recent iOS update brought games to the operating system's chat interface. Unlike those iOS chat games, however, the Facebook games won't require any form of installation – they'll just work straight from the get-go, hence why the service is called Facebook Instant Games.
Players will be able to access both personal scores and public leaderboards straight from either the Messenger application or the news feed, making it more easy to gloat about high scores now than ever before.
Here's a list of the games available now, along with each title's respective producer:
- Pac-Man (Bandai Namco)
- Galaga (Bandai Namco)
- Arkanoid (Taito Corporation)
- Space Invaders (Taito Corporation)
- Track & Field 100M (Konami)
- Words with Friends: Frenzy (Zynga)
- Shuffle Cats Mini (King)
- EverWing (Blackstorm)
- Hex (FRVR)
- Endless Lake (Spilgames)
- Templar 2048 (Vonvon)
- The Tribez: Puzzle Rush (Game Insight)
- 2020 Connect (Softgames)
- Puzzle Bobble (Taito Corporation & Blackstorm)
- Zookeeper (Kiteretsu)
- Brick Pop (Gamee)
- Wordalot Express (MAG Interactive)
The platform is an obvious fit for studios like Zynga, which dominated Facebook feeds everywhere for a period of time with games like Farmville and Cityville. Likewise, it's easy to see how games like Words with Friends can be easily utilized straight from a chat window, and since beating a friend's highscore prompts a little notification in its respective chat, we imagine competition will be fierce. Each Facebook Instant Game has a direct line to a significantly large audience of people, so we expect many more games to be arriving in the future.
Until now, those who didn't partake in the Facebook Gameroom beta this November have likely only seen a select few mini-games in the chat interface, like a simple emoji-based soccer keep 'em up or a basketball hoops challenge. From our experience, those titles made group chats a very competetive place, and we can only imagine that things will get worse now there's a larger variety of games to pick from. In a sense, Facebook has turned each chat into a potential arcade, and competitive gamers will want their name sitting above all others when it comes to high-scores.
No news yet on if Facebook Instant Games will feature any monetized titles, or if everything will remain free.
Facebook Instant Games is available now across 30 countries, and can be access on phones with iOS 8 and higher, or Android version 5 and higher.