Last November, Facebook launched Instant Games, a new platform to play with friends within the Messenger chat application. Today, the company is announcing a couple of notable new features for this gaming platform, including support for live streaming through Facebook Live and video chat with other players.
The idea of Instant Games is to increase the time of people in Messenger by giving them something else to do, in addition to just chatting.
It also serves as Facebook's newest attempt to re-dominate social games. The company's gaming platform a few years ago reached a maximum of a quarter of a trillion dollars per quarter in its 30 percent tax on in-game purchases, and leveraged the effects of Facebook's network to help make the games come back viral.
But with the change to mobile, Facebook's position in the games was reduced. Nowadays, people spend more time playing in native mobile applications created for iOS and Android devices.
When Instant Games launched for the first time, it offered 20 games in 30 markets, including titles like Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Words With Friends Frenzy. . Now that number has grown to more than 70 games from more than 100 developers around the world, says the company, including Tetris recently released.
Soon you will add other important names, such as Angry Birds (built by CoolGames, who also built Tetris); Sonic Jump by SEGA; Disney Tsum Tsum, published by LINE; and a new game from the maker of Puzzle & Dragons, GungHo Online Entertainment, Inc.
To celebrate its first anniversary, Facebook is also introducing a couple of new features for Instant Games: live streaming and video chat.
The live broadcast begins to spread today.
The function, with Facebook Live technology, allows Messenger users to transmit their game to their Facebook page or profile. To use the live stream, simply touch the icon of the new camera in the upper right corner of the screen while you play, then add a brief description to share along with your post. To start recording, press the "Start live video" button.
Then, the live broadcast is shared on your Page or profile. When it's over, friends and fans can watch the saved recording.
With the live streaming feature, Facebook is playing with rivals such as Twitch, YouTube and Microsoft, all of which today offer their own tools and services for live streaming games. However, in the case of Facebook, the addition is more informal: it is more about sharing with friends, not monetizing a community through subscriptions, game sales or personalized chat icons, as you would on Twitch or YouTube, by example. (At least, not yet).
Facebook says it will soon begin testing a feature that also allows users to video chat while playing. The show will premiere initially next year in Words with Friends by Zynga, before expanding to other titles.
According to the company, more than 245 million people chat every month in Messenger. That makes it a great potential audience for a video chat feature, which adds interactive elements to the gaming experience. The feature will also challenge other popular video chat and hangout applications popular among teenagers and young adults, such as Fam, the application for group video chat through iMessage, for example, or Microsoft's Skype, among others.
As part of today's news, Facebook shared some statistics of its game partners. You can see these below: