Microsoft has added a new app called Games for Work to Teams, which will allow users to dive into some casual multiplayer titles together. As many as 250 people can play Microsoft Solitaire, Microsoft Minesweeper, Microsoft IceBreakers and Microsoft Wordament with each other.
Solitaire and Minesweeper are, of course, classic Windows games. Players will go head-to-head in Solitaire in a race to finish first. In Minesweeper, they'll team up to clear the board and each person will have a few lives in case they click on a mine.
Unsurprisingly, Wordament is a word game. There's a leaderboard where you can see how you fare compared with your coworkers. IceBreakers does what it says on the tin — you'll answer questions about certain topics and perhaps find out a little more about your colleagues.
The Teams crew worked with Microsoft Casual Games, an Xbox Game Studios division, on Games for Work. The idea, according to Microsoft, is to help coworkers "pause and re-energize" in a virtual office setting. It cites data indicating that teams who play games together for 45 minutes are 20 percent more productive than those who opt for other types of team-building activities. "Research shows that gaming promotes cognitive benefits, helps foster empathy and encourages inclusion, team building and learning," the company added.
Perhaps we'll see a day when Microsoft bakes Xbox Cloud Gaming into Teams. In the meantime, you'll be able to clear rudimentary virtual minefields with colleagues and battle it out with them in Solitaire. As for folks working at companies using Google Meet, there's no reason to feel left out: you can play games like Uno Mobile with colleagues too.