Gaming on Facebook Messenger: An “Inverted Chinese Rip-Off”?

Facebook Messenger Instant Games copying WeChat?

We’ve all heard of Chinese manufacturers ripping off products from the West, like Nike, Apple, Land Rover and just about every other recognizable brand in the world. But now, the tables are turning as Western software companies mimic the functionality of Chinese pioneers.

Take Facebook Messenger’s Instant Games platform that was launched November 29. Basically, it allows Facebook Messenger users to immerse themselves in the gaming experience without having to download any additional apps. Of course, it is gaming in its most basic form, but Facebook isn’t the first to do this. In fact, WeChat, arguably China’s largest social platform and messaging app, has had games on it for several years now.

Originally modeled on the WhatsApp format, WeChat quickly started adding more and more functions, such as video calling, gaming, free calls, messaging, social media and much more. Of course, the fact that it is owned by the largest gaming company in China – Tencent – does help its gaming strength, but the reality of it is that they’ve been adding more and more functionality for a long time, while Facebook has only just started doing it with Facebook Messenger.

As of last count WeChat had about 800 million monthly active users. Facebook Messenger now has over a billion active users using the app every month, but that’s pretty much a carry-over from their core platform subsequent to launching a separate chat app.

Shadowing WeChat’s strategy, Facebook is now adding more and more functionality to Facebook Messenger. In addition, they’re also releasing an increasing number of standalone apps in the hope that they can gather an even more massive user base and keep them engaged so they can eventually be monetized.

Did you know that WeChat introduced Moments in April 2012 on version 4.0? Facebook released its own Moments app just last year. The functionalities may vary slightly, but the theme of both is to privately share photos. And now it’s in-app gaming.

That’s what we call an “inverted Chinese rip-off.”

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