Facebook's Instant Games are leaving Messenger

They're moving to the Facebook Gaming tab.

Facebook's Instant Games, casual games that you can play with friends, have never quite found a home since they were introduced in 2016. While serious gamers tend to overlook them, free-to-play Instant Games are surprisingly popular with some estimates saying more than 20 billion game sessions were played over two years.

Instant Games started off in the News Feed before being brought over to Groups and the Lite app. The library of Instant Games kept growing, including classic games like Pac-Man, Galaga and Space Invaders as well as popular titles like Words With Friends and Uno. The highly social nature of the games and the fact they have cross-platform support make them a hit with casual gamers.

Now, the games are moving out of the Messenger app and into the Facebook Gaming tab, with the transition happening in several stages. "Starting later this summer, Instant Games will no longer be playable directly in the new version of Messenger on iOS," Leo Oleb, Global Director of Games Partnerships, said in a blog post. "To ensure a smooth transition, players in Messenger will continue to access games through thread updates and chatbots, while gameplay itself will app switch to Facebook."

This is the latest step in streamlining Messenger, which has become rather overstuffed with extraneous features. Last year Facebook began decluttering the app and, with the site pushing its gaming features like esports streaming and user meetups, it makes sense to decamp the Instant Games to the main gaming hub.