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Viber introduces mobile games on messaging service

Messaging service Viber is spicing up its service with a variety of mobile games, allowing users to face off against friends, track scores and send gifts.

Viber Games will be a separate app from the Viber messaging, voice and video service. Users will be able to log-in on their Viber account to access three games.

The three games resemble the look and feel of the app, taking some of the most popular emojis from the messaging app to become characters in Viber Candy Mania, Viber Pop and Wild Luck Casino.

The three new games have been worked on by popular third party developers, Storm8 and Playtika. The messaging app firm claims it will continue to work with third parties to create more games in the future.

Viber announced the new venture in a statement: "The games were built using “Viber Connect,” a new private API that allows users to sign in with their Viber ID to connect with their friends and contacts on Viber, send them gifts and brag about their achievements. Additionally, users will be able to send game invites via Viber, and see what games their friends are currently playing."

Currently, Viber Games is available in Belarus, Ukraine, Israel, Singapore and Malaysia. The service will be available to everyone in 2015, along with some more games.

The move to include games in a messaging service has been done before, KakaoTalk, LINE and Tango all offer mobile games. Facebook also offers game plugins, but not through the messenger app.

Viber originally started as a messaging client, but has been broadening its features in the past year, now offering group chats, video calls and an VoIP. The messaging service was picked up by Japanese e-commerce service Rakuten for £575 million.