Facebook Messenger is preparing to launch a new “Instant Games” platform that will let people play lightweight games against friends. Candy Crush maker King.com is already testing one of these Instant Games called “Shuffle Cats Mini” in New Zealand, TechCrunch has discovered. And other studios including Big Viking also appear to be prepping for the Instant Games launch.
Facebook has been largely shut out of the native mobile gaming world by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. But by building games into Messenger by using it as a portal to mobile web apps, Facebook could create a new platform that drives Messenger engagement. Users could come to Messenger to play Instant Games, challenge friends via Facebook Messages, and potentially earn Facebook a cut of in-game purchases. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.