If gaming from within Facebook Messenger is something that you've always wished you could do, today is going to be a very good day for you indeed.
But if gaming inside Messenger hasn't been at the top of your feature wishlist then you're probably going to be left wondering, like the rest of us, why this is something that has happened. But that hasn't stopped Meta and Facebook Gaming from being rather excited about the prospect of people playing while on a video call.
That's the idea here, of course. Facebook Gaming's announcement says that it's all about a shared experience that makes it easier for people to play games with their friends and family even if they aren't there in the room with them. It'll deepen connections, we're told. That's a laudable goal and we're absolutely here for it. We're just not sure that we want to deepen connections in Messenger.
If you feel differently, you're in luck. Facebook Gaming has announced that there are no fewer than 14 free-to-play titles at your disposal. Those games include things like Exploding Kittens, Card Wars, and Words with Friends so you can probably get a feel for the vibe that's going on here.
Getting into a new game is as easy as can be, thankfully. The announcement blog post says that people just need to start their group call and then tap the group mode button in the center. From there they then tap on the "Play" icon and that's where they can browse through the games library.
Facebook clearly expects the initial 14-game run to be just the start however, with the company saying that developers who want to get in on the act should reach out to make that happen. We don't expect there to be many deathmatch games going on for obvious reasons, but there is at least scope for some cool stuff going on here.
We're still not sure that we want to do it in a video call as such, but the idea is something that might have seemed more obvious a couple of years ago when the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing and we were all itching for anything close to real contact with real people. Today? Well, there's nothing stopping you from opening a video call of any description and playing a game at the same time is there?
Of course, there's no standalone Facebook Gaming app anymore, so those games do have to go somewhere. Hidden away inside Messenger is probably as good a place as any.