Facebook decided to release a surprise update to Facebook Messenger, one that brings some games to the instant messaging platform. The new feature is called Instant Games and it can be easily initiated from the Facebook Messenger app for iPhones and Android smartphones when talking to one or more friends.

At the moment of writing this article, the Instant Games are only available to Facebook Messenger users in 30 countries and they work on iOS v8 or later and Android v5 or later. However, a list of countries wasn’t provided, but it’s pretty simple to see if you have the Instant Games or not.

In order to do so, simply make sure that you have updated your Facebook Messenger app to the latest version, launch it and start a conversation with any of your friends. You should have a controller icon there – if you don’t, then you have to wait for Facebook to roll this to more countries and users.

The new Facebook Messenger Instant Games feature allows you to play one of the 17 launch-titles, but more will be released in the near future. You can challenge your friends directly, which has the potential of turning this new feature into the next annoying thing Facebook came up with.

Either way, here are the 17 titles that you can play on Instant Games right now, all available for free on the mobile app (probably the desktop version won’t get those):

facebook-messenger-instant-games

If you’re reading on a phone and the image is too small for you, or you just want the titles listed, here they are:

  • Pac-Man
  • Galaga
  • Arkanoid
  • Space Invaders
  • Track & Field 100M
  • Shuffle Cats Mini
  • Words with Friends: Frenzy
  • Hex
  • Everwing
  • Endless Lake
  • Templar 2048
  • The Tribez: Puzzle Rush
  • 2020 Connect
  • Puzzle Bubble
  • Zookeeper
  • Brick Pop
  • Wordalot Express

We do have some classic titles there and I must admit that I am a bit envious on those who have this feature unlocked (yes, I don’t!) I am sure that for the right people, the challenges that you can throw left and right and the great classic games you can play are a real blessing. As Facebook suggests in their promo video (check it out here), you can also raise the stakes of a Pac-Man game: the one who loses will do the dishes. Or pay for the drinks. Or whatever. So it could be fun.

But it could also become the next annoying thing, if the Facebook Instant Games turn into the request spam that games of the previous years brought (remember FarmVille, FrontierVille, CityVille and all the other that were extremely popular a few years ago?) However, since Instant Games are just for challenging friends and work colleagues and not for asking for extra crop fertilizers, it might end up as a nice and welcome feature for most people.

What do you think about the new update? Is playing games on Facebook Messenger and especially challenging your friends to get a better score something you’re looking forward to?

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