With remote or hybrid work going nowhere any time soon, Microsoft today announced new social gaming functionality inside its Teams productivity and collaboration platform.
Available to Teams Enterprise and Education subscribers only, the new “Games for Work” app allows colleagues to challenge each other to a game of Minesweeper, Wordament, Icebreaker and even Solitaire, a classic card game familiar to anyone who has used Windows from 1990 onwards.
Microsoft said that each game — including Solitaire, which by its very definition is a solo game — has a multiplayer option for up to 250 players, with added support for those only wishing to spectate. And given that the games are only available for paying Teams subscribers, no ads are included.
The new app was developed by an Xbox Games Studio called Microsoft Casual Games.
While baking games into what is ostensibly a business product for most people might seem counterintuitive, the logic is sound enough: workmates have long engaged in games socially at work, whether it’s table tennis or a game of cards during lunch. For remote workers, that desire to connect and interact competitively is surely still there.
“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,” noted Jill Braff, general manager of integrations and casual games at Microsoft, in a blog post.
The Games for Work app integrates with Teams on desktop and mobile, with Microsoft adding that it plans to add new games in the future.