Zoom is adding free multiplayer games that you can play with friends and co-workers during video calls.
Those awkward moments in Zoom meetings where you aren't sure if the other person is about to say something, so you wait until the silence is unbearable to start talking, but then inevitably they start talking at the same time, so you both say, "oop, sorry, go ahead" at the same time, and then another painful few seconds passes while you're both waiting for the other person to continue talking, and then you both say "No, I was just gonna say" at the same time, and so on. Awful, right?
Zoom games could be the ideal remedy. The next time you're waiting for someone to join your virtual meeting, ditch the idle chit chat and play some poker! At least, that would be my elevator pitch for Zoom's foray into multiplayer games. With a handful of games available at launch, you could also make your next casual get-together with friends a virtual thing, with the obvious benefit being no one has to get dressed or drive anywhere.
In addition to a poker game, the first batch of Zoom games includes Ellen Digital's party game Heads Up!; a twist on the popular social deduction game Werewolf boldly titled Werewolf With Friends; a word-guessing game called Just Say The Word!; and finally, Ask Away, which is designed to replace the exact social disaster I described above "with icebreakers where you try to guess the same answers as your coworkers to fun questions!" There are a few more in Zoom's Games category, but those are the ones that stood out.
Zoom games are part of a larger addition to the platform called Zoom Apps, which as of now includes more than 50 add-ons designed to "streamline workflows, collaborate with colleagues, and also bring elements of fun and wellness into your interactions with colleagues, friends, and family members."
It should be interesting to see whether Zoom will innovate using its unique format in the games space or if this is just a last-ditch effort to retain some of the massive influx of new users from the pandemic. Either way, at least work meetings can be a little more fun now.
Looking for something more substantial? Check out our guide to the best online games available on all platforms.