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Games May Be Next for Facebook Messenger

Facebook is reportedly looking to add games to its Messenger app. The social networking giant is having talks with game developers to integrate their mobile games with Messenger, according to a report from online magazine The Information.

Facebook officially announced support for third-party app integration into Messenger at its F8 developer platform in March. Since then, the company has partnered with a small number of third-party app developers, allowing users to add photos, animations and short video clips made with these third-party apps directly to their conversations.

Recipients of these messages get a link to install the apps, or reply with an image or animation of their own if they already have the app installed. Some of Facebook’s launch partners included JibJab, Giphy, ESPN and the Weather Channel.

Facebook is now looking to add game developers to that list, according to the Information, which spoke to three people briefed on those plans. However, it’s still unclear whether games will run directly within Messenger, or whether users will merely send invitations to play in a third-party app.

Asked about these plans, a Facebook spokesperson replied that the company is currently focused on content creation apps, but that the company plans to explore other opportunities in response to developer interest. She added that apps like Talking Tom, Giphy, Sound Clips, and Bitmoji have seen more than one million installs since the launch of the Messenger platform.

Facebook’s Messenger app has over 600 million active users and is a key part of the company’s strategy to focus on dedicated apps for communication and personal media — a strategy that also drove the acquisition of Whatsapp and Instagram.

Adding third-party apps to Messenger could one day be a big money-maker for Facebook; developers regularly pay top dollar to get users to install their apps. But it’s also a way for Facebook to compete with Apple’s and Google’s app stores, which could become less relevant if consumers instead get their recommendations for new apps directly from their social networks.

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