Facebook is no stranger to amusing gaming experiments when it comes to its Messenger app and the latest update that hit the popular instant messaging (IM) solution earlier today further proves that point. Namely, not long after it allowed its users to play a game of chess in Messenger, the social media giant now included a hidden basketball mini-game in its messaging app. Well, barely hidden, that is.
Barely hidden because all you need to do in order to shoot some hoops with your Messenger buddies is start a conversation with them, send them the basketball emoji by tapping on it, and then tap it again in the conversation window in order to start the game itself. Simple enough, right? This cute mini-game was presumably developed and launched as a thematic update in honor of March Madness, an NCAA college basketball tournament that just started this Tuesday. Anyway, once the game begins, you’ll see a basketball in one of the several different positions at the bottom of your device’s screen from where you’ll have to swipe up in order to shoot at the digital hoop. Naturally, the goal is to score as many consecutive baskets as possible which isn’t as easy as it sounds after you reach double digits and the entire backboard starts moving at an increasing pace. However, the game is simple, challenging, addictive, and entertaining enough that you’ll certainly find a couple of enthusiastic friends to play with.
Most importantly, it gives users yet another reason to stick around in Messenger which is what Facebook’s ultimate goal basically is; to diversify its IM platform and turn it into something much more than just a messaging app. After all, that’s pretty much the only way the company can hope to continue the crazy growth Messenger experienced last year when it was the fastest-growing app on the planet by quite a margin. To be more specific, a 29 million users margin as 126 million new people in total started using Facebook’s mobile IM solution in 2015. In any case, silly yet entertaining mini-games such as this one are just a small step towards that goal, but they keep people talking about and using Messenger, which is what counts for Facebook in the end.