A couple months back, Facebook transitioned their Messenger from an app that is Nice To Have to a Must Have by simply forcing users to download and use the app if they wanted to message their friends on mobile.
This transition has positioned Facebook Messenger as the second most popular messaging app (second only to Facebook’s recently acquired WhatsApp).
Naturally, as Facebook owns both apps, it has positioned Facebook as the reigning champion, outranking the competition in both popularity as well as quantity; by using a crude tactic, Facebook has actually manipulated statistics and positioned itself as the #1 messaging app provider in the world.
Now, Facebook has done a Throwback Thursday by releasing social games on its Messenger.
To the younger cohort that might not remember, this move was already done by Microsoft a decade ago or so on its MSN Messenger app.
As Microsoft were trying to make MSN Messenger more appealing and bury the competition that was mostly ICQ back then, they decided to release games that could be played by more than one person at the same time, thus providing an added value to its app.
Needless to say that ever since Facebook, hardly anyone has stayed with the MSN Messenger and abandoned it for Facebook, with a fast decline from 2007 onwards.
Microsoft continued their messenger legacy by acquiring Skype, that is still used immensely mostly by marketers and media salesmen; it remains popular and the main social app by this vertical.
But Facebook’s move is intriguing, as these aren’t regular desktop app games but they could be played via mobile as well, meaning this is a new type of game – an in app in app game where you could invite friends to play in a range of games from backgammon to scrabble, to space invaders and what not.
This is interesting because with Facebook’s announcement that marketers can now target users via their Messenger, this move could potentially start a new trend in in app advertisements as now marketers could potentially advertise other Facebook Messenger based games via Facebook Messenger on mobile devices, a new era in mobile marketing that is we are about to embark on.
“If Facebook does succeed in this kind of move, they might be able to to build a new app store of their own with super engaged customers as they are already inside this void.” – Says AJ Segal, from Appenue, a boutique mobile marketing agency.
“By harnessing the potential of Facebook Messenger and the fact that WhatsApp could provide more clients down the line, Facebook could decide to combat Google in a new battlefield where it has already won or at least has the advantage.” – Added AJ.
We asked AJ what he thought about Skype, as it is slowly declining and Microsoft’s mobile presence is dwindling as its acquisition of Nokia failed to provide any real value in the mobile sphere.
“I do believe that if Microsoft decides to release in app games via their Skype mobile app, they might be able to grant themselves a market share via their engaged users and perhaps even acquire new clients down the line. But, it might be too late for Microsoft as unlike their brilliant move in releasing the XBox back in the console wars almost 20 years ago, here it is no longer a giant and would need to put a real effort into becoming a market leader in this field.” – Concluded AJ.