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Angry Birds, Sonic coming to Facebook Messenger games

Livestreaming and video chats on the way

A teaser trailer for Angry Birds on Facebook Messenger Instant Games.
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Facebook Messenger users have been playing games directly within the app for a year now, and Facebook is expanding the platform with major gaming brands like Angry Birds and Sonic the Hedgehog, the company announced today.

Facebook Messenger Instant Games one-year anniversary statistics
A year of gaming on Facebook Messenger. (See the full infographic here.)

Amsterdam-based CoolGames is working with Rovio to bring Angry Birds to Messenger’s Instant Games platform in early 2018. Known simply as Angry Birds, it will offer the series’ usual flicking-birds-to-destroy-structures gameplay with “an exciting new way to challenge friends,” said Facebook; you can watch a teaser trailer above. CoolGames also developed an Instant Games version of Tetris that launched at the end of November.

Sega Hardlight’s Sonic Jump, which has been available on Android and iOS since 2012, is also on its way to Instant Games. The Facebook Messenger version is already launching in some regions and will be available worldwide “in the coming weeks,” said Facebook. Other titles coming soon to Instant Games include Line’s Disney Tsum Tsum in 2018 and a Puzzle & Dragons game from GungHo Online Entertainment.

Facebook also announced that it is rolling out support for livestreaming Facebook Messenger games, starting today. The feature will work via Facebook Live, naturally, allowing players to broadcast Instant Games titles to their Facebook friends or the audience of a Facebook page. These broadcasts will be archived as videos on your page or profile.

Facebook Messenger already offers video chat, and Facebook will soon start testing video chat integration with Instant Games titles. The company said the feature will allow users to “challenge and play games with each other from within the video chat experience.” It’s set to launch in early 2018, and Words with Friends will be the first title to support it.

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