Under the deal, RockYou will integrate the world of Zookeeper, the hit comedy from Sony Pictures, into RockYou’s social game Zoo World 2. Fans of the film, which starred Kevin James, will be able to play with characters from the film, including Griffin the Zookeeper.
The deal is an example of the increasingly common ties between social games and movies. While console game movie tie-ins are becoming more rare, social game deals are popular because social games reach a wide mass market, similar to movie audiences, and because the tie-in deals don’t cost much to implement and can be done quickly.
“We have become a category that is of great value to Hollywood,” Julie Shumaker, head of RockYou Media, said in an interview. “Social gamers are huge consumers of DVDs and theatrical films. That is why you’re seeing more of these deals.”
According to a survey by market analyst Interpret (commissioned by RockYou), social gamers watch an average of four movies in theaters and 11 movies outside of theaters over a three-month period. About 52 percent of gamers say that when a new movie comes out, they want to be the first to see it.
RockYou also had a deal related to Zookeeper with its original Zookeeper game. And Zynga has cut deals with studios on games that feature promotions related to the films Rango, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Indiana Jones. Shumaker, a former Electronic Arts ad executive who joined RockYou last spring, said that gamers like rewards related to characters from films.
This deal isn’t a particularly stunning one. Zookeeper is about to launch on Blu-ray and DVD disks on Oct. 11. Those who buy Zookeeper can earn 12,500 ZooBucks (worth about $10) to spend on the Zoo World 2 game. In Zoo World 2, users create and manage their own zoo, breeding and nurturing baby animals. The original Zoo World was one of RockYou’s biggest hits. Zoo World 2 now has more than 8 million users. The original Zoo World has been installed more than 50 million times and has more than 7 million Facebook Likes.
In addition to creating social games, RockYou has an ad platform that reaches more than 96 million users on Facebook. The Sony Pictures promotion will run for four to six weeks.