Facebook Messenger adds Pac-Man, Space Invaders and other arcade games

Facebook Messenger, a popular place where people go to chat privately with their friends, wants to be a destination for gaming, too.

On Tuesday, the social media company said it was adding 17 games including Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Words with Friends, and other arcade classics to its messaging app.

To play a game on Messenger, users tap on the game controller icon just below a message in the latest version of the app and choose a game. People in the conversation see a user’s score, allowing them to challenge and compete with their friends in a game of Pac-Man.

“Games are social by definition, so this experience encourages interaction, competition and celebration with leaderboards, group chat opportunities and easy ways to challenge any of your Messenger contacts,” wrote David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook, in a post Tuesday.

Facebook, which also owns WhatsApp, has been adding more features to Messenger from booking rides to conversing with a retailer’s chatbot as part of its efforts to get more users to spend more time on its messaging app. With other apps such as Kik, Line and WeChat out there, consumers have a lot of options when it comes to messaging. Facebook also purchased virtual reality Oculus, which produces virtual reality headsets used to play games, for $2 billion in 2014.

Facebook’s users already had an option to play games such as FarmVille and Candy Crush on desktop, but more people have been migrating away from playing games on their personal computers. In the third quarter, Facebook’s revenue from payments and other fees dropped by 3 percent to $195 million. The company makes most of its money from ads, though.

In March, Facebook added a basketball game to Messenger and then a soccer game in June. The company says more than 1.2 billion basketball games and 250 million soccer games have been played in the messaging app.

On Tuesday, the tech firm also launched a platform called Instant Games on Facebook Messenger and the social media site’s News Feed so users could play games on mobile and desktop without having to install new apps.

Instant Games is being rolled out in 30 countries, including the United States.

Photos provided by Facebook




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