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An Associated Press reporter holds a mobile phone showing the Facebook Messenger app installation page in San Francisco, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. Facebook is pushing more people to install its Messenger application, now by blocking people who want to send and receive messages via its mobile website instead of the app. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Facebook is trying to get back into gaming with 'Instant Games' in Messenger


Facebook has featured games one way or another for years. But now it might be bringing them to Messenger, according to TechCrunch.

It's not clear yet how the games would work, but The Information reported Facebook was preparing a new platform called "Instant Games." It would let you play turn-based games so you don't have to be staring at Messenger the whole time, but could play when you get a chance to look at your phone. You might have seen the beginnings of this in Messenger's soccer and basketball games.

Shuffle Cats bills itself as a "slick card-flicking Instant Game."

That game may seem familiar, since its maker King also made Candy Crush Saga.

If you want to test Instant Games, you might be out of luck unless you live in New Zealand. TechCrunch reports U.S. users will get an error message if they try to load the game on a phone. You can also play on a web browser, but you can't finish the game -- that appears to be limited to the Messenger app. 

Meanwhile, a startup called Big Viking raised $21 million to build "HTML5 instant games." TechCrunch reports when it asked CEO Albert Lai about it, he said he "can't speak to anything" involving Facebook.

Facebook has been adding more features to Messenger, including bots integrated with Uber and less popular games like Doodle Draw. 

In 2011, TechCrunch reports, Facebook had a gaming platform, codenamed Project Spartan (which was also Microsoft's codename for its Edge web browser). But the platform was scrapped, partly due to technical issues. More recently, it announced Facebook Gameroom, which looks like a casual version of Steam.

Would you play games in FB Messenger?

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