About seven years ago, Facebook gaming exploded with the likes of FarmVille and its many, many clones. But after that crazy surge, things have calmed down. Games like Candy Crush Saga are still hugely popular, but the bubble there really popped a few years ago. But now Facebook is launching a new gaming platform called Instant Games, that will let you play games from within the Facebook Messenger app and challenge your friends in real time.

“The 1 billion people who use Messenger every month connect, banter and share in so many ways. They do this by sending Stickers when words aren’t enough, tapping on Instant Video to share smiles with Mom after an awesome day, or making a quick voice call to let friends know they’re running late,” said Messenger product manager Andrea Vaccari in an official announcement. “Now they can connect and compete over their favorite games. We think this is just the beginning for games on Messenger.”

There are 17 games available to play right now. They’re all classic arcade or puzzle-style games and include titles like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Words with Friends and Puzzle Bobble. These games are distinguishable not only by the fact they’re in messenger, but that they enable players to compete in real time. Other multiplayer games on Facebook’s traditional platform had to be played asynchronously.

One of the major features (or curses) of traditional Facebook games is the way they make money. There’s no news if these same types of monetization models will apply to these games, or if they’ll remain free.

This article was written by

Nicole has been playing games her entire life. Now that she's a mom, she's passionate about promoting games as a healthy pastime to other parents around the globe. She has been an editor at IGN, where she launched and hosted the Girlfight podcast. In her spare time (which is not very much, honestly) she enjoys gaming, reading, and writing fiction. Most of the time she’s a mom to a crazy, intelligent, and exhausting little girl.