Facebook may be a social networking site first and foremost, but the company also has a long history of enabling developers to create games that users can play on their own or with friends.
As a growing percentage of Facebook’s users are accessing the site on mobile devices, Facebook is taking a step that helps turn the social network into a mobile game platform.
Now you can play PAC-MAN, Space Invaders, EverWing, and other games in the Facebook or Facebook Messenger apps for Android or iOS. There’s no need to exit the app or download and install the games from the App Store or Google Play.
Facebook calls the new gaming-through-Messenger service “Instant Games,” and at launch there are 17 games available to play in 30 countries.
Titles include classic games like Galaga and Arkanoid, social games like Words with Friends: Frenzy, and some newer titles. The games are all rendered in HTML5 and work cross-platform.
Not surprisingly, there’s a social aspect to the games, even when you’re playing single-player titles. You can launch a game from the chat window in Messenger and your score will be posted to the conversation, letting your friends try to beat your high score.
There’s also a solo option for folks that don’t want to use Messenger (or let anyone know what games they’re playing. Games will also be available through the News Feed in the Facebook apps for Android or iOS.