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Facebook’s Instant Games Expands to Include Groups, Lite App, Monetization

Facebook’s in-app games capabilities have come a long way from “hidden” basketball and chess. Now, its Instant Games platform is expanding upwards and outwards.

The in-app game platform, which allows users to play single-player and multiplayer games through Facebook and Messenger, will soon be available directly through the site’s massively-popular Groups feature and the Facebook Lite mobile app. It’s also added more features for developers, most notably monetization options.

Functionality in Groups will first roll out to a specific set of groups, specifically those dedicated to gaming. Those users can launch and play Instant Games with other members from within the page. The team points to the popularity of the subject on the site, with over 270,000 groups in its gaming category engaged with by 90 million people.

If it goes well, Facebook looks to expand into other Groups categories.

“Instant Games provides a natural way for people in groups to easily play together and deepen engagement over shared interests, and we’re excited to see how communities form and come together over Instant Games,” Facebook said in a press release.

Mobile-first users across the globe will also be able to play soon via the Facebook Lite app, which is aimed towards users with 2G connections or those who want a smaller app size. Facebook Lite will be adding a direct link to the app itself, as well as improving how games download and update on mobile, making Instant Games available to lesser-served but nevertheless mobile-savvy regions.

On the developer side, Facebook announced that developers can now monetize through advertisements and in-app purchases. It also announced that it’ll be tweaking the Games page, focusing on improving games’ discoverability.

It’s likely a welcome set of news for those looking to make Instant Games users a primary audience after the platformed opened up to third-party developers this past March.

Combined with the Facebook Lite launch, the monetization changes now make Instant Games a new serious platform and competitor in the mobile game market.

These are major plays for Facebook’s quickly-growing division. The company shared in the press release that Instant Games held 1.7 billion play sessions in just the past month alone, and their daily player base has gone up 25% from June to September.

Facebook points to the ease and accessibility of HTML5 as part of the foundation for its success, especially now that Instant Games has grown to serve mobile users.

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