Facebook may use games to boost Messenger platform popularity

Shawn Knight

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One of the major things Facebook announced during its F8 conference back in March was its Messenger platform, allowing developers to create apps for use within Messenger. The initial batch of apps have largely centered on communication (think emojis, sound clips, gifs and so forth) but now we’re hearing that the social network is interested in expanding the platform’s capabilities to include games.

The first bundle of apps for Messenger hasn’t generated the traction that Facebook was hoping for. Worse yet, multiple third-party developers have reported having a difficult time raising awareness about their Messenger apps. Facebook’s gaming initiative is largely centered on trying to alleviate these two issues although talks are still in early stages.

Facebook knows a thing or two about social gaming. Much of the company’s traffic during its rise to prominence in the mid to late-2000s can be credited to browser-based “social” games with companies such as Zynga owing their entire existence to the genre.

The proliferation of smartphones and tablets, however, led to a sharp rise in mobile gaming. Many social gamers abandoned hits like FarmVille and Mafia Wars in favor of mobile titles that were much more convenient to play on the go.

Facebook’s Messenger gaming initiative would essentially combine the best of both worlds. With more than 600 million people already using Messenger combined with the proven success of mobile gaming, it’s hard to see how the endeavor could fail.

Image from Bloomberg via The Information

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"With more than 600 million people already using Messenger combined with the proven success of mobile gaming, it’s hard to see how the endeavor could fail."

Except.. do people need to be poked more, to do something with friends on a particular game or such? Yay we have 2 large platforms that are very much active, lets combine them and then see what disaster of a mess we come up with. I can see this as a backfiring plan, if things are mishandled which is the common case. Just because you have data and things look good, doesn't mean it will make a great merging of things.

Mobile games often are just personal, from what I notice in a lot of things. What's really going to benefit, by adding in a underused section of something? Sure you might have people gaming, along with using "Messenger" but.. I don't see a reason to combine them? This isn't like a PC platform where you would want such things, which we now take for granted such as on Steam or other similar platforms? We have tons of games integrating into Steamworks, where you can invite people to play or just chat with friends.

I must be missing the point of this whole thing. This is seeming like putting opposing things together, in a "platform" that doesn't really need this to begin with. :p