Posted by Daniel

Today we have a guest post by Debbie who has great news about Messsenger Games:

My name’s Debbie, a Program Manager in Microsoft’s Casual Games group. In a nutshell, my job is to deliver games for you to play with your buddies in Messenger. You might exclaim, “heck [or your operative of choice], I didn’t know I could even play games in Messenger!” That’s not an uncommon response, and frankly is why I like working on Messenger games since it’s such a grand opportunity to tap into all the Messenger users, many of whom might not consider themselves gamers, and show them just how easy it is to play.

Today we have our broadest portfolio of games available for the English market, and are working on improving that so more people can play worldwide in their native language. We see about 16 million of you playing games in Messenger each month – here are your top 10 favorites:

  1. Checkers
  2. Minesweeper
  3. Bejeweled
  4. Solitaire Showdown
  5. Hexic
  6. Bankshot Billiards
  7. Tic Tac Toe
  8. Chess
  9. Wheel of Fortune
  10. Trivia

The list changes a bit month to month, but you get the idea. Going forward we’ve been working hard to bring some new games into the portfolio that enable you to share a gaming experience with someone based on more than just a score. A great example of this is a Sudoku game we’ve just added this month which has both a collaborative and competitive mode. You can share a puzzle with your Aunt in Phoenix and enjoy the challenge together, or get even with that friend from school that always copied off your math tests by kicking their butt in competitive mode.

When we release new games, all you have to do to access them is sign in to Windows Live Messenger, start a conversation with a friend, click the games button, and choose the new game or another favorite from the list. For those of you in the US, there’s also a games tab you can use to launch games. Naturally I recommend going into the Messenger options and putting this tab first in your list, so it’s really easy to find. To do that, in your Messenger menus, go to Tools -> Options -> Tabs, find the MSN Games entry, and hit the Up button until it’s top of the list (okay maybe one spot behind your contact list J).

You can also sign up for MSN Alerts to get notified when new Messenger games are released. To do that, just go to http://messengergames.spaces.msn.com/ and click the button that looks like this in the upper right corner. MSN Alerts will collect some info from you, and then the next time you’re logged into Messenger and we release a new game, you’ll get a notification in your system tray. You can access this space any time to find out what’s new.

Another thing we’re improving upon going forward is providing some new ways for you to provide feedback on our games. Today we do the occasional survey to learn about what your casual game preferences are. We want to change this so that we have feedback forms right inside the game so you can give feedback on things you think would make the game more fun for you. That said, this is going to take some time because my small team needs time to build and release games as well as keep up all the comments from our players. So bear with us while we get there. In the meantime, get busy playing some games in Messenger so I can keep on keeping people busy building new ones for you!

Thanks for reading!

Debbie

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If you have a comment/question/concern/discussion topic/rant/rave/other – please head over to the Windows Live Messenger Newsgroup.