Facebook Messenger as a platform has gotten its first game. Titled Doodle Draw Game, it essentially allows users to send drawings to their friends, after which the recipient has to guess what the drawing is.
The game marks a significant move for the Facebook Messenger platform, which previously only allowed apps for content creation and sound effects. It is expected that games will begin to be prevalent on Messenger in the near future.
"Currently, we think Messenger Platform is best-suited for apps that focus on content creation and curated content," said Facebook in a statement. "But one of the reasons we were excited to announce at F8 that Messenger Platform is open to all developers is to see what people build. From there, we'll think about what else might make sense."
Of course, Doodle Draw Game will likely be familiar for many - it's almost an exact copy of the popular Android and iOS game Draw Something. That's not to say that Draw Something didn't get inspiration from somewhere else - it itself is basically a mobile version of Pictionary.
Now that Facebook Messenger as a platform is open for games, there is a real risk that the platform could become spam-central in the same way that games on Facebook became the subject of spam. In fact, Doodle Draw could very easily become the center of spam, with users offered incentives to invite friends to play the game through being offered in-game currency for each friend that joins. Ideally, Facebook will take a stance against games incentivizing spam, with games instead having to expand through offering quality games that actually make users want to share the game with their friends.
Done right, however, these new games could be a creative and fun new way for friends to interact with each other on Facebook Messenger, rather than becoming the subject of frustration each time an invitation is received.
Messenger itself has garnered more than 600 million active users and over 1 billion downloads on Android, giving it a lot of potential as a platform. While Facebook is still trying to figure out how make the Messenger platform the best and most profitable that it can be, bringing the possibility of games to the platform certainly seems like a step forward. Game spam, however, is a serious threat to the credibility and value of the platform, and could steer users clear of Messenger as a platform.