The new Messenger games tab makes your games more social

The new Messenger games tab makes your games more social

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Just in time for the holidays, we are pleased to introduce a new gaming experience for Windows Live Messenger 2011. We’re excited about our new release for two reasons:

  1. We’re bridging the gap between casual and social gaming by adding more social elements into the casual gaming experience.
  2. This marks the start of strong partnerships with leading games publishers, including iWin, PopCap, Arkadium, GameHouse®, and Microsoft Game Studios. These partnerships bring great games to our consumers on Messenger, as well as cross MSN Games, Windows Live, and Bing.

Before going deeper into this new release, it’s important to explain some nuances between social and casual gaming. Social gaming enables players to interact with many people, many of whom they don’t know (such as Farmville, Frontierville, etc.). Casual gaming tends to be a more solitary experience (such as Bejeweled, Solitaire, etc.). We’re bridging this gap by adding more social experiences to casual games, as well as providing a richer interactive experience, including the ability to video chat while playing games with your close friends and family.

Half of all people online in the US, about 99 million people, play online games

Social gaming has been exploding in popularity since 2008. The percentage of online users in the US who play online games has increased from 40 to 50 percent over the last two years, according to a 2010 Nielsen study. And the number of game-playing sessions has increased nearly 50 percent since 2008, from just under 11 sessions per month to nearly 15 sessions per month. Today over 200 million people use Facebook to play social games – that’s 40% of the total population on Facebook. In this same timeframe, casual gaming has also gone mainstream, with nearly 85 million people in the US playing casual games at least once a week. Social gaming startups are popping up everywhere, with considerable venture capital investments and acquisitions happening in this space - just read last week’s roundup from Inside Social Games.

Making the casual gaming experience more social

When you use full view in Messenger, you’ll see a new “GAMES” tab. The games tab centralizes all your gaming activity on Messenger in one view, where you can connect to your Facebook and Messenger friends and add to your casual gaming with social elements like leaderboards, friend feeds, and game updates. Of course, your privacy is important to us, so we made sure that you can control what and how you share from within the gaming experience. You can invite friends to play with you side-by-side within the conversation window, or you can play solo, and then challenge your friends afterwards when you post your high score.

New games tab in Messenger

Another new social element on the games tab is the ability to quickly see which friends are online playing, and what their favorite games are, so you can join them in a game. You can even video chat while playing with a friend and see their reactions in real-time.

Video chat in Messenger while playing Bubbletown

More games and ways to play—players and game developers both win!

Customers love new games, and game developers are lining up to build them, so we’re taking important steps to improve their distribution and discovery. We’re working with publishing partners around the world to bring world-class games to our multiple platforms, and engaging with them to make the chat experience deeper and richer. Crowdstar is a great example of how we’re partnering with the people who are innovating in the social and casual games space to deliver these experiences to our customers.

Because the new Messenger games tab is built with the expertise of the Xbox LIVE Services team at Microsoft, it makes casual online gaming more relevant to today’s connected world. The launch of games in Messenger marks an important collaboration between Windows Live and Xbox LIVE that we will continue to expand upon. Along with the new Messenger games tab, today you’ll find a new MSN Games preview, an updated Bing gaming experience, and a new online Games for Windows Marketplace. These new game experiences will be rolling out throughout the day today, and thus may not appear for all Messenger customers until late this afternoon (PST).

We’ve connected our online gaming properties in important ways to give game developers the flexibility to reach their target customers wherever they play the most. Whether you play online games on MSN, on Bing, or in Messenger, you will find a familiar gaming experience, where you can track your friends and high scores for your favorite games, regardless of which site you are on.

Look for the new games tab in Messenger today

The new games tab in Messenger will be available later today in the US, UK, France, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and Turkey. More markets will be added later this year. The games tab UI will be localized in all of these markets, but the games themselves will only be in English.

Games vary slightly by market, but we’re making available a selection of more than 35 new free-to-play games, in addition to the tried-and-true favorites you could play in Messenger already. We’ve lined up some great partnerships to bring you a diverse mix of puzzle games, hidden object games, card and board games, and some fun physics games that are almost too unique to classify. And there will be more to come – as our partners release new games, we plan to roll them out to you weekly. So, check your Messenger games tab often for the latest and greatest games to play while video chatting with your friends and family.

Piero Sierra
Group Program Manager, Windows Live Messenger

12 Comments
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  • Hemingray
    85 Posts

    Quote: "Hopefully this update will encourage more people to upgrade from Messenger 2009, or from other programs."

    Not Me, sadly. I'm staying back on 2009 due to it's simplicity.

  • Hemingray
    85 Posts

    What if I'm antisocial? lol

  • Ten98
    1 Posts

    Sorry but I don't care how awesome or social the games are in MSN 2011, the fact is it's the worst application MS have ever released, even worse than "Video for Windows 1.0" way back in the 90s.

    I have always used the official Microsoft MSN client as it was small, functional, loaded quickly and didn't eat too much memory. Even as you piled on the features like "handwriting", "nudge" and those stupid flash animation things I didn't mind too much. I even tolerated the small banner ads at the bottom of the window, and even ads in my chat windows!

    But Live 2011 just goes too far.

    The client itself is horrifically slow and hogs the CPU and RAM on my machine like crazy. It is too large on the screen and the amount of advertising is just horrible. I'm sorry to say I have now uninstalled MSN 2011, AND 2009 and won't ever be using an official MSN client again. 3rd party clients at this point are the only way to go.

  • 1)Comment on a game - 50 points *Limited to 150 points per day*

    2) Rate a game - 50 points

    3) Playing a game - 100 points

    4) Inviting a friend - 500 points *They must register*

    5) Complete your profile - You'll earn points for completing your entire profile

  • mnice
    1 Posts

    When is Finlad added ? now it just give "page cannot be displayed" -error and it is a "bit" confusing and causes a lot of confusion ? Installing first english version of messenger and then installing the Finnish-version over that solves the problem and you can use the games but why so ? you should at least give a proper error message to people if something is not yet activated in the marketarea and some details when it will be ?

  • Games????????? i just want a messenger !!!!!!! who wants games video??? CMON back to 2009 drawing board

  • I don't see the GAMES tab in Messenger. Is it not available in India? When is it coming.... if at all?

  • I would really like to take advantage of some of the cool features of Windows Live 2011.

    I really would.

    I LIKED it before I discovered that I couldn't use a nickname anymore, and that every link I clicked lead me to a page telling me that I'm dumb and don't know how to browse the internet safely. And that there is no more blocking. And that there is no more handwriting.

    Maybe if you lose your "THE USERS ARE ALL STUPID AND MUST BE PROTECTED FROM THEMSELVES" attitudes, more people will upgrade. But for the time being, I'll be sticking to 2009.

    LISTEN TO YOUR USERS. Do you not see all the people raging about these terrible updates around the internet? Google "windows live 2011 sucks". Google "how to uninstall Windows Live Messenger 2011." People all over the internet are upgrading, then realizing it's crap and begging for help going back to the 2009 version. I've helped several people on my own friendlist do it. Why do you stay silent on this? Why aren't you paying attention? Why do you ignore the people that make your product what it is, the users?

  • qiziq
    23 Posts

    Isn't this more an issue of being rolled out gradually over your various servers?  I'm not seeing it in Central U.s. AT 8:00 PM.

  • Hmm, i'm not seeing it here in Canada. Maybe tomorrow then?

  • dovella
    303 Posts

    In Italy ? Sure?

  • controlz
    145 Posts

    Great! Hopefully this update will encourage more people to upgrade from Messenger 2009, or from other programs.