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With Messenger Apps Sluggish, Facebook Eyeing Games

The first suite of apps that Facebook announced for Messenger were all for lightweight communication: sending people emojis, sound clips, gifs and the like. Now, almost two months into the launch of the Messenger platform, the company is ramping up its interest in games, regarded as stickier and higher revenue apps more likely to draw interest from people.

Facebook is in active conversations with game developers about the platform, according to three people briefed on the plans, although the company hasn’t laid out any definitive timeline for when games will be introduced into the Messenger app store. Ilya Sukhar, the executive at Facebook tasked with leading the product side for Messenger’s platform, confirmed the discussions but did not give any date on when they might roll out.

While a move to broaden the range of apps on the platform was to be expected, it takes on greater significance given indications that people have been slow to engage with the current slate of Messenger apps. Multiple third-party developers said it has been challenging to raise users’ awareness about their apps, as well as getting them to use the apps regularly.

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“We didn’t want them to feel trapped into the exclusivity. For us it was only a matter of user experience and nothing else,” Mr. Sukhar said.