In case you’ve been under a rock for the past week, on Nov 29th Facebook announced it’s new Instant Game platform that allows Facebook users to access games in their newsfeed and within the Messenger app. Games are just an addition to an extensive list of small apps that have been made for the Messanger app, following the likes of meme & sticker apps. particle & graphic effects apps, and gif apps.
There are some smart things about the Instant Game platform games:
1) They capitalize on both peoples’ social tendencies and their competitive nature.
2) They provide the convenience of staying in the app and the ease of flaunting your results to your friends.
3) They leverage the entire Facebook network of 1 billion (duh).
In-messenger games are not revolutionary by any means. They’re quite popular in Asian countries, a market that’s dominated by Tencent and Line for in-app games. These companies have tried to bring in-messenger games to the West with very little success. Despite a few snafus with Facebook over the past year, like suppressing conservative news stories and being a cesspool for fake news stories, it is still the most powerful social media platform in the western world. The market potential a gaming company would have by tapping into Messenger games would be incredible.
Many companies have seen the possibilities, including Game Insight (invested $5M in messenger games), Big Viking Games ($10M investment), King, Zynga, Spil, Bandai Namco, Zynga, and Konami, among others. Currently, there is no monetization system built into the Instant Game platform, but Facebook recognizes that it will have to create a monetization system for developers soon. As it stands, developers who are making games for the Instant Platform are hoping to build an audience of the early adopters and monetize them later. I think this is a very interesting development, particularly since the mobile gaming market is reaching its maturity.
We’ll have to keep a close watch to see how Messenger games evolve.
Discovered after posting: What I get for not scanning my feedly before writing a new post. This is a blog post from Gameanalytics on how to make an iMessage game (not Facebook Messenger) plus a very short interview with the CEO of Mojiworks, a UK studio dedicated to making iMessage games.