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Games at Work? Microsoft's New App Actually Encourages It

Dust off your Minesweeper skills so you can square up against your co-workers during Microsoft Teams meetings.

Microsoft Teams logo displayed on phone and Microsoft logo in the background
You can play games during Teams meetings now.
Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The next time you jump into a Microsoft Teams meeting, there's an ever-so-slight chance your manager could kick off a Solitaire tournament. Why?

On Wednesday, Microsoft introduced Games for Work, an app featuring a lineup of online games that colleagues can play on its virtual meeting platform. The app includes IceBreakers, Wordament, Minesweeper and Solitaire. Developed by Microsoft Casual Games under Xbox Game Studios, the app is designed to encourage team building. 

"Games promote creativity, collaboration and communication in powerful and unique ways, and we can't wait to see the how the Games for Work app on Microsoft Teams inspires productivity and helps foster connections in the workplace," said Jill Braff, general manager of Integrations and Casual Games at Microsoft.

All games are ad-free and created for two to 250 people. While IceBreakers is designed to help co-workers learn about one another and foster connections, Solitaire allows team members to just watch the action if they choose not to participate. It comes with built-in spectator mode that enables active players and viewers to comment from the sidelines. Minesweeper acts as a giant problem-solving exercise, and teams who play Wordament can score points for finding words on a grid. 

Games for Work is available on Microsoft Teams for education and enterprise customers. The company aims to expand the game selection in 2023.