Microsoft today announced new social gaming functionality inside its Teams productivity and collaboration platform, as remote or hybrid work is unlikely to become more popular any time soon.
The new “Games for Work” app, which is only available to Teams Enterprise and Education subscribers, enables coworkers to challenge each other to games of Solitaire, Wordament, Icebreaker, and the classic card game Minesweeper. Solitaire is a familiar card game to anyone who has used Windows since 1990.
According to Microsoft, each game has a multiplayer option for up to 250 players, with additional support for those who only want to watch. This includes Solitaire, which by definition is a solo game. Additionally, there are no advertisements because the games are only accessible to paying Teams subscribers.
Microsoft Casual Games, an Xbox Games Studio, created the new app.
Though it may seem counterintuitive to bake games into what is ostensibly a business product for most people, the logic is sound enough: coworkers have long played games for fun at work, whether it be table tennis or a game of cards during lunch. That desire to connect and engage in competitive interaction is undoubtedly still present for remote workers.
According to Jill Braff, general manager of integrations and casual games at Microsoft, “Games promote creativity, collaboration and communication in powerful and unique ways, and we can’t wait to see how the Games for Work app on Microsoft Teams inspires productivity and helps foster connections in the workplace.”
Microsoft notes that it intends to add new games in the future to the Games for Work app, which integrates with Teams on desktop and mobile.