From the moment Facebook spun off Messenger as a standalone app, the Menlo Park-based social media giant had a single development strategy for it in mind. Namely, the company wanted to turn the said instant messaging (IM) app into something more; something people will keep coming back to for many reasons. Given the fact that Messenger itself is currently used by over a billion people worldwide, that certainly isn't a bad strategy, as it's much easier to introduce a new feature to an already popular app than try to build the next big thing and hope people will be bothered with trying it out. In other words, while Messenger is technically an app, Facebook is developing it as an ecosystem.
Cue a plethora of content such as Messenger Day, AI-powered shopping bots, and even games which Facebook has been adding to Messenger in recent years. Speaking of games, the company's IM app has so far only supported simple mini-games which were mostly presented as hidden easter eggs and not actual features. Well, that changes today, as the social media giant just announced "Instant Games" for Messenger. Thanks to this feature, users can now play games with their friends directly through Messenger. The initial version of Instant Games supports 17 titles: Pac-Man, Galaga, Arkanoid, Space Invaders, Track & Field 100M, Shuffle Cats Mini, Hex, Words With Friends Frenzy, Everwing, 2020 Connect, Templar 2048, Endless Lake, The Tribez: Puzzle Rush, Puzzle Bobble, Zookeeper, Brick Pop, and Wordalot Express. As you can see, Facebook opted to offer a combination of cult classics and popular modern games, likely because it's hoping to attract a maximum number of users. Of course, all of the supported titles are casual in nature and can be played for any amount of time, which means they're perfectly suitable for gaming on the go.
The Instant Games feature will start rolling out today in 30 countries. Unfortunately, Facebook's press release doesn't go into specifics regarding the Instant Games rollout map, though more countries are expected to be added in due course. The same goes for software requirements, as Andrea Vaccari, Product Manager at Facebook Messenger explains that this feature will work on all "newer" versions of the Android operating system.