In its transformation from simple messaging tool to app platform, Facebook Messenger is fixing to take another step: The social network’s standalone chat app will soon tie into game apps, according to The Information. At least, that’s the gist of Facebook’s latest maneuver. The company confirmed that it’s in talks with third-party developers to bring their games to the messaging service.
The move ticks another checkbox for Facebook as it tries to transmogrify Messenger from a simple communication tool used by more than 600 million people every month to an environment that lets those users run and connect to outside apps.
At its F8 developer conference in March, Facebook announced Messenger would tie into external apps, such as those for photo, animation and video—i.e., the sorts of media that might naturally fit into a chat tool. The list of Facebook’s early launch partners included JibJab, Giphy, ESPN and the Weather Channel.
The move into gaming would expand the scope of the company’s integrations, hammering home Messenger’s platform ambitions.
Facebook’s efforts in attracting third-party developers have been numerous, but so far, they seem slow to start. The Information describes the social network’s bid to lasso outside apps as “sluggish,” and it’s not at all clear if gaming will be the salvation the company is hoping for. A lot depends on the details, few of which have emerged at this point—including how the fundamental integrations will work.
Games could run directly within Messenger’s swelling walls, or they could simply use the app to connect players, like some sort of watered-down version of the Mumble chat tool popular among gamers. Facebook reportedly hasn’t decided which path it wants to pursue yet.
Photos by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite