Facebook Offers Devs Instant Games Platform
Written by Alex Denham   
Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Facebook is making its Instant Games platform available to all developers who want to write HTML5-based games.

The platform has been under development for 18 months with a closed beta program. The developers say that nearly 200 games have been built in that time for Messenger and Facebook, and while the number of available games is small, they have seen an immediate success. Within 90 days of the closed beta being launched, Facebook reported that over 1.5 billion games were played on Instant Games from the launch date.

Instant Games are HTML5-based, and designed to be launched directly from Messenger or from Facebook chat apps so that the players don't need to download a game. The system has the advantage that players stay within Facebook while playing. 

During the closed beta, a variety of features have been added to the platform, including turn-based gameplay, monetization and  livestreaming.




To coincide with the public launch, Facebook has added a number of new or improved features to the platform, starting with making its Ads API available for all developers. Any developer creating apps for Instant Games will have access to the Ads API as well. Formats include interstitial and rewarded video ads powered by Audience Network. In-App purchases are still being tested.

The platform also has a Monetization Manager that can be used to manage monetization and performance with Audience Network. The idea is that the manager will help developers maximize revenue with advanced optimization tools, simplify management of ad placements across apps, and provide more focused analytics functionality and deeper reporting than available in Facebook Analytics. Specific reporting for Instant Games has been added into Facebook Analytics to help developers understand and optimize the unique social contexts of the platform.

A new Game Switch API has also been added. This can be used by developers to promote new games or game updates to your current users. Developers can also create deep links to directly send players to their game outside of Facebook and Messenger.

Other improvements include a better dynamic ranking algorithm to show users relevant games based on recent play habits and interests; and the addition of Ad Units for Instant Games 'soon'. This will take players directly from clicking an ad to playing a game. More generally, it's possible to submit and launch games directly on the platform, to let players to sign up for bot subscriptions and add home screen shortcuts to help with re-engagement.

The new platform is another example of how Facebook is changing Messenger from just a place for chatting to somewhere to play games, with the aim of creating a rival to Google Play and Apple App Store.



More Information

Instant Games developer documentation page

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 20 March 2018 )