Facebook Messenger is continuing it daring quest to be more useful than Facebook itself by adding games that you might actually want to play. Pac-Man, Galaga, Space Invaders, and several other titles old and new are headed to the messaging app in the very near future.
Facebook calls the new feature Instant Games, and it works just like you’d imagine. A click brings up a list of games, and another click launches the game, either from within Facebook Messenger or on your News Feed, depending on whether you’re on desktop or mobile.
The games, of which there are 17 in total, are currently being tested on Facebook Messenger in a beta capacity. You’ll know if you have access to the feature by heading to your Facebook Messenger app (or the web version) and checking for the game controller icon on the menu bar.
For the single-player games like Pac-Man, the head-to-head competition takes the form of a leaderboard, where you can compare your score against those of your friends, along with stats on how many rounds of each game everyone has played. It’s a fun little distraction and can give you some bragging rights, but there’s very little depth to any of the games on offer.
Facebook has always had a weird relationship with gaming. There’s been some seriously addicting titles on the social network — FarmVille comes to mind — but it could keep that momentum going. The company also dabbled with Messenger games in the past, with a simple basketball challenge in honor of March Madness.