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(Pocket-lint) - To keep you on Facebook longer or at least using its chat app, Facebook has launched an Instant Games feature for Messenger.

The feature lets you instantly play titles within the chat app itself, and like FarmVille and other Facebook games of the past, you'll be able to share your achievements to your News Feed, so that your friends can immediately jump in and try games. Here's everything you need to know.

Facebook: What is Instant Games?

Instant Games is Facebook's new HTML5 gaming platform that lets Facebook users play games in Messenger and from the News Feed, without the need to download anything. Instant Games are cross-platform, so they’ll work on the web and all mobile devices.

Facebook: What games can you play?

Facebookfacebook messenger lets you play instant games like pac man here s how to find and play them image 2

At launch, there are 17 games: Pac-Man, Galaga, Arkanoid, Space Invaders, Track and Field 100M, Shuffle Cats Mini, Words with Friends Frenzy, Hex, Everwing, Endless Lake, Templar 20148, The Tribes Puzzle Rush, 2020 Connect, Puzzle Bobble, Zookeeper, Brick Pop, and Wordalot Express.

Facebook: How do Instant Games work?

In the latest version of the Facebook Messenger app, open a conversation with a friend or friends, tap on the game controller icon just below where you type your message (or tap the more icon, where it might be buried under), and choose a game to start playing right away. When you finish a round, your friends in the conversation will see your score and have the chance to play their turn.

Facebook said you can also discover games within the Messenger search field, or in Facebook News Feed, where you can play solo or challenge friends back in Messenger. Keep in mind this isn’t the first time instant-like games have been playable in Messenger. During March Madness earlier this year, for instance, Facebook hid a secret basketball game in its messaging service.

The main Facebook app will also include a dedicated bookmark, so you can find games you’ve already played right from there. And if you want to play from your computer, simply go to Facebook in your browser, then open a chat with a friend or friends, and click the game controller icon. Just like you can in the Messenger app, you'll be able to browse titles and instantly play.

Facebook: When will the games be available?

Facebook launched this new feature on 29 November in a closed beta. The social network said it will first roll out to 30 countries, but it's limited to the web and newer iOS and Android operating systems.

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Want to know more?

Watch Facebook's promo videos above, or check out its blog post.

Writing by Elyse Betters.