How to play games with your friends in Facebook Messenger

Facebook has updated its Messenger app to include the Instant Games in Messenger feature, which allows you to play games with your friends directly from the Messenger app.

With one billion people using Messenger each month there are plenty of people to play against, and you can challenge friends, share scores and make video and voice calls while you’re playing.

If you fancy playing games with your friends in Facebook Messenger, read on to find out how you can get the new Instant Games in Messenger feature on your smartphone. You can also play the games through a web browser.

Update Facebook Messenger

To start playing games in Facebook Messenger you’ll first need to update the Messenger app on your smartphone or tablet. The update should go live soon, so look out for a notification telling you there’s an update waiting.

If you don’t see the update, open up Google Play on Android, or the App Store on an Apple device, and search for Facebook Messenger to see if an update is waiting for you. If it is, click to install.

If there’s no update and no option to play games then the feature may not have rolled out to your country just yet. Initially 30 countries around the world are getting Instant Games in Messenger, with more to follow.

If you access Facebook Messenger through the Facebook website there’s no need to update anything – the option to play games should appear automatically.

How to challenge a friend to a game in Facebook Messenger

All you need to do to challenge a friend to a game is start a conversation by clicking on the name of your friend or pressing the plus ‘+’ icon.

In the conversation window, tap the game controller icon below where you enter your message text, then choose the game you want to play.

You can also play amongst a group of friends, by creating a group chat within Messenger and starting the game from there.

You’ll be able to see live scores and a leader board within the chat – and don’t worry if you get beaten badly, as the score won’t be made public!

If you want a quick rematch, simply tap ‘Play Now’ to launch the game again.

What games can you play in Facebook Messenger?

Instant Games in Messenger launches with 17 games from well-known publishers such as Konami, Bandai Namco, Zynga, and King, plus many more.

The lineup includes classics such as Pac-Man, Galaga and Space Invaders, as well as popular new games like Words with Friends and Endless Lake. Check out the image below for the full list.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. He’s personally reviewed and used most of the laptops in our best laptops guide - and since joining TechRadar in 2014, he's reviewed over 250 laptops and computing accessories personally.