In 2016, Facebook (now Meta) launched instant games in an attempt to get users to play games just about everywhere. However, three years later, those titles were moved from the Messenger app to the Facebook Gaming tab in an effort to streamline the platform, which had become cluttered with extraneous features at the time. In a surprising twist, Meta has brought gaming back to Messenger, and it’s taken things to the next level with a new multiplayer mode.
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Now you can one-up friends for high scores on the messaging platform on Android during a video call. The shared experience supports a relatively small number of titles at present, including Card Wars by Bombay Play, Exploding Kittens by Coatsink, Mini Golf FRVR by FRVR, and Words With Friends by Zynga. There are 14 free titles currently available across Android, iOS, and the web.
These games can be accessed directly from a video call and load in seconds, similar to titles launched on the platform several years ago, which were built on the HTML5 mobile web standard. This means you won’t need to download each game as you would with clumsy native apps.
While each title has a different maximum player count, most games are designed to be played by as few as two people. To get started, simply start a video call on the app, tap the group mode button, and then tap the “Play” button. The game library will then appear, displaying all available titles.
Although the list is currently slim, Meta promises to expand the catalog with more free-to-play titles later this year. The company is also encouraging developers to contact their partner manager for more information on how to get their games on the platform.
The multiplayer mode is Messenger’s latest attempt to toy with various titles after similar efforts in the past led to games being relocated to the Gaming tab in the Facebook app. Meta wrote in a blog post that the goal is to allow users to “deepen connections with friends and family by engaging in conversations and gameplay at the same time.”
The latest feature is expected to bear that out, with multiplayer games providing a unique online experience in which players can interact with each other and form new connections. More importantly, Messenger hopes that friendly competition will get you to spend even more time in the app.
This article originally appeared on https://www.androidpolice.com/facebook-messenger-video-calls-games/