There Was Also Some Time for Games at Facebook’s F8

Several updates on Instant Games and Facebook Gameroom were announced at the event

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Facebook introduced rich gameplay features for its Instant Games cross-platform gaming experience for Messenger and News Feed on both mobile and the web at its F8 developers conference in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday.

Engineering manager Calvin Grunewald also announced in a blog post that the social network plans to introduce a new games tab to make game discovery easier for users, adding that Facebook plans to enable developers to use game bots to let players connect to games via actions taken directly in Messenger chats.

Facebook is also rolling out a closed beta of its Gameroom Platform software-development kit for Facebook Gameroom, which will enable developers to port games that are built in a variety of engines.

Grunewald offered more details on the new Instant Games developments from F8:

More than 1.5 billion games have been played on Instant Games across Messenger and Facebook News Feed within the past 90 days.

At F8, we introduced rich gameplay features to give developers more control of the gaming experiences they create. Developers can customize their own start and end screens and integrate new APIs (application-programming interfaces) that can help drive share and connected gameplay. Rich gameplay features are laying the groundwork to support a wider variety of games that extend beyond the lightweight, score-based games currently offered on the platform.

A new version of EverWing (Blackstorm Labs), along with Words with Friends (Zynga), will be launching on Instant Games in the coming weeks.

And on Facebook Gameroom, he wrote:

Partnering with Unity, we launched the commercial release of the new Facebook build target in Unity 5.6 last month that allows Unity developers to streamline the deployment of their games to Gameroom. Gameroom supports PC games optimized for native performance and web games built via HTML5, WebGL or Flash technology. Available for Windows 7 and above, Gameroom currently has more than 1,000 games across 10+ different categories. We recently introduced support for downloadable premium games, and we look forward to adding more games in the coming weeks and months.

To allow more developers the opportunity to bring their games onto this emerging PC-gaming platform, we’re rolling out a closed-beta of the new Gameroom platform SDK that will offer developers the flexibility to port games that are built in a variety of engines, including Unreal Engine, cocos2d and more. We’re already working with developers like High Voltage Software to bring its Dragon Front game onto the platform. Written using the Unreal engine and originally an Oculus exclusive, a 2-D version of Dragon Front will launch on Gameroom in the coming weeks. Developers interested in the Gameroom platform SDK closed-beta can apply here. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.