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Facebook launches new Messenger games that will transport you to the '80s

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor

In its unending quest to ensure your eyeballs never stray too far from its products, Facebook (FB) has launched a new Instant Games platform for Messenger. Available with the latest version of Messenger for iOS and Android, which began rolling out Tuesday in 30 countries, Instant Games includes classics like “Arkanoid, “Galaga,” “Pac-Man” and “Space Invaders,” as well as newer offerings like “Words with Friends: Frenzy,” “Endless Lake” and more.

To start a game, you enter a conversation with a friend — 1 billion people use Messenger, so you should know at least someone — tap the controller icon above the text box and select the game you want to play. Once you’re finished, Messenger will share your score with your friend so they can try to top it. Or you can just brag about how awesome you are at “Galaga,” either or.

Facebook is bringing new and classic games to Messenger.

You don’t have to play with someone every time you’re feeling a gaming itch either, as Facebook says you’ll also be able to play solo games. Of course, the introduction of Instant Games also means your News Feed will once again be clogged with notifications telling you who’s playing what games. So that’ll be fun.

‘Pac-Man’ is one of Facebook Messenger’s new Instant Games.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has added games to Messenger. The social network previously introduced hidden soccer and basketball games within the app. According to Facebook, 1.2 billion games of basketball have been played already, so you can imagine why the company would want to launch more traditional games.

“Why is Facebook launching so many games?” you ask. The social network is trying to ensure that you never want to leave its apps for any competitors’ offerings. The inclusion of games from developers like King and Zynga is especially interesting, as they use the popular freemium gaming model, which lets you download and play games for free, but requires that you cough up an extra fee to play certain levels or continue playing after a set period of time.

Facebook says this is just the beginning of games in Messenger, which means we’ll hopefully start to see even more addictive classics in the coming months.

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Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.