Facebook has big plans for Messenger and they want it to transcend from just being a normal chatting platform of a billion users to a whole separate ecosystem on its own. One of the major components that Facebook seems to incorporate into Messenger is gaming and it is not a surprise what they are doing with this test.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook is testing Instant Games on Messenger. Facebook already has Instant Articles (which are great btw) and they allow you to read articles way faster than the previous system. In the case of Instant Games, Facebook is testing on Messenger so that it will allow users to play lightweight games against friends. The games are not necessarily live in that you can play your turn and your friend will login later and play his/her part.
Facebook launched the Messenger platform in 2015 which allowed developers to create apps that work within Messenger. They further improved on the platform early this year with the introduction of bots which they made a big deal about it. However, Facebook knows that games usually generate a lot of engagement on platforms and this move by them to make people play games on Messenger will bring back the Zynga-era where we could play games on Facebook.
We have seen and played some games on Messenger that are of the “instantaneous” nature as Facebooks puts it and they include the basketball and football games. In this case, you had to send either a basketball or football emoji to your friend to activate it and it was quite addictive at first in your attempt to beat your friend for the highscore. The move by Facebook to test Instant Games comes at a time when Telegram made a splash on this area with their bot powered games and this could spell doom for the now traditional app only games.