×

Gaming Is Coming Back to Facebook With Instant Games Developer Program Launch

Facebook is giving games another shot: The social network officially opened up its Instant Games platform to all developers Wednesday, allowing them to build and monetize games for the Facebook news feed and Facebook Messenger. This comes after Facebook first launched the platform in closed beta in late 2016.

Facebook’s Instant Games are essentially HTML-based game experiences, meaning that users don’t need to download and install any apps, and don’t need Flash or any other third-party plugins to run them. Users can find these games on Messenger via the game controller icon; Facebook also introduced a dedicated games bookmark for players to revisit games that they have previously played.

Developers are able to monetize these games with Facebook ads, including video interstitials. In addition, Facebook is also testing in-app purchases for Instant Games. Advertising in particular seems to be working for developers of instant games, with game studio FRVR banking seven figures for ads running on the “Basketball FRVR” instant game, which has been played more than 4.2 billion times.

“As a game developer, it’s rare that you have an opportunity to reach more than 1 billion people the first day your game goes live,” said FRVR founder Chris Benjaminsen in a statement. “We knew an investment in Facebook’s Instant Games would pay off — and it certainly has.”

Popular on Variety

This isn’t the first time Facebook has dabbled in gaming on its platform. A decade ago, Facebook let game developers like Zynga distribute games including “Farmville” on its platform. “Farmville” quickly became a hit, bringing in hundreds of millions via in-game purchases. However, these Flash-based games didn’t run on mobile devices, and gaming on Facebook took a deep hit as its user base transitioned from desktop to mobile.

What’s more, many users were turned off by the spammy nature of many Facebook games, which flooded the news feed with updates and pestered players to invite their friends. With Instant Games, Facebook now looks to replace this type of viral marketing with a more traditional approach, offering developers dedicated ad units to drive audiences to their games.

More Digital

  • Aaron Pedersen (as Jay) & Jada

    Screen Australia Leads Call for Evolution of Industry Funding

    Screen Australia, the country’s federal support body, says the screen entertainment industry needs to come up with new business models in response to changes in audience behavior and the disruptive impact on content financing that has come from streaming. Public support bodies must change their relationships with the industry too, Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason [...]

  • A-ha!

    'A-ha: The Movie' on 'Take on Me' Band to Receive Worldwide Release (EXCLUSIVE)

    A feature documentary on Norwegian “Take On Me” singers A-ha will receive a worldwide release this November. “A-ha: The Movie,” distributed internationally by Esther van Messel’s First Hand Films, will be broadcast in theaters around the world on Nov. 26, with Germany’s Salzgeber releasing the film locally and First Hand Films handling the release in [...]

  • Vudu

    NBCUniversal in Talks to Buy Walmart's Vudu

    Comcast’s NBCUniversal is looking to add some Vudu into its streaming-video mix. The media conglomerate is in talks to buy Vudu, the Walmart-owned entertainment rental, download and free-streaming service, sources confirm to Variety. It’s unclear what the terms of the pact would be or the timing. News of NBCU’s interest in Vudu was first reported [...]

  • Tubi

    Fox in Talks to Acquire Free-Streaming Service Tubi for Over $500 Million (Report)

    Fox Corp. is in discussions about acquiring Tubi, the ad-supported free streaming service, in a deal worth more than $500 million, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing anonymous sources. With Tubi, Rupert Murdoch’s TV broadcasting and cable company would be adding a dedicated streaming component — offering over 20,000 older TV shows and [...]

  • Zombies 2 Disney Channel

    How Disney Channel's 'Zombies 2' Production Team Made Monsters Kid-Friendly

    Traditionally spooky creatures like zombies and werewolves get the Disney treatment in “Zombies 2,” the follow-up to the 2018 hit TV-movie musical of the same name. While the undead have now assimilated into the community of Seabrook, they’re confronted by a new set of outsiders: werewolves. Milo Manheim and Meg Donnelly return as Zed and [...]

  • Baby Yoda - The Child Animatronic

    Hasbro's Adorable Baby Yoda Animatronic Toy Is Already Sold Out on Disney's Online Store

    The Force remains strong for toys based on Baby Yoda, the breakout star of Disney Plus original series “The Mandalorian.” Less than a day after becoming available for pre-order, Hasbro’s new $59.99 Baby Yoda animatronic toy is no longer available on Disney’s official online store: As of Friday morning, Shop Disney listed it as “sold [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content