Facebook made its Instant Games and Ads API available to all developers beginning Wednesday, making it possible to develop, launch and promote HTML5 games across Facebook Messenger and News Feeds.
The timing of this announcement was planned around the Game Developers Conference (GDC), which begins next week. Facebook will host its annual Developers Day March 19 at the conference in an attempt to attract more developers—and by extension, ad revenue—to Instant Games now that it’s open to the public.
The Instant Games platform supports turn-based gameplay, monetization and livestreaming capabilities. Facebook recently rolled out ads-based monetization to all beta-partner developers, and it will be open to everyone starting on Wednesday in addition to the Ads API.
Developers can now cross-promote new games or game updates to its existing player base across the Instant Games platform. Developers can also create deep links to directly send players to their game outside of Facebook and Messenger channels.
Ad campaigns will become available “soon,” according to Facebook, making units that take players directly from clicking on an ad to playing the game.
In-app purchases were announced in October and will continue to be tested, according to the company.
Instant Games launched in closed beta in 2016 with 17 games and now hosts almost 200, including a Messenger version of Tetris. Other retro games were developed for the platform, including Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Galaga, using nostalgia to engage players.
Basketball FRVR, one of the early titles on Instant Games, has been played more than 500 million times.
Between esports partnerships and the addition of livestreaming, Facebook is on a quest to become the top gaming platform. The company reported that across web and mobile, an average of 800 million people play Facebook-connected games every month.