Facebook Gaming Going Back to the Future

Leading digital publisher Telltale Games expands into social media gaming with Back to the Future: Blitz Through Time, a new free-to-play Facebook game.

This kicks off a major new initiative for the company’s publishing strategy that will see complementary free-to-play social games launch in advance of many major Telltale game releases, the company informed Monday.

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As social gaming is gaining momentum, companies are trying to leverage social media reach for enhanced brand communications.

Here’s an example. Embedded within the Facebook experience, Elfmas Town users can choose from a selection of fun holiday games to play, earn rewards and share with friends.

Office products company OfficeMax is creating its holiday eGreeting site powered by JibJab, ElfYourself.com, and has announced the launch of ElfmasTown.com. (Read: Go, Play in the Elfmas Town on Facebook)

Film company DreamWorks Animation SKG and Zynga announced that Megamind, the self-described “incredibly handsome master of all villainy,” will become a neighbor to all 17 million game players on FarmVille.

Megamind himself was to launch his very own “Mega-Farm,” a brand new themed landmark within the popular social game that incorporates the storyline and characters from the studio’s feature film, Megamind, which opened in theaters on Nov. 5. (Read: Megamind to Play in Mega-Farm on FarmVille)

Also, the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies announced that it is extending its partnership with Zynga, the maker of FarmVille.

For a ten-day period, Farmers began offering FarmVille players a likeness of its Farmers Insurance Airship, a 246-foot-long Zeppelin.

When players placed the Farmers Airship on their virtual farm, they received free “wither protection” for their crops. (Read: Farmers Airship on FarmVille Facebook Game)

Likewise, ETX Capital has launched a fantasy trading game on Facebook enabling millions of users worldwide to compete against friends on the world’s financial markets.

ETX Capital Trader offers a real time trading experience where users can practice their trading skills with virtual money. (Read: Playing Fantasy Trading Game on Facebook)

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“By aligning a social gaming component with our upcoming launch of Back to the Future: The Game on various platforms, we will utilize the drawing power of social media to maximize the effectiveness of all our efforts with the franchise,” said Steve Allison, senior VP of Marketing for Telltale Games.

Created through an agreement with Universal Partnerships and Licensing (UP&L), and developed with online games developer, Mediatonic, Back to the Future: Blitz Through Time is a free-to-play race against time.

Players need to match the unstable molecules inside the Time Machine’s Flux Capacitor to trigger chemical reactions that enable time travel. Fans create speeds of 88 mph and jump to a new era to unlock special point multipliers.

The game will keep players coming back daily with an ongoing competition between Facebook friends for high scores. Badges and achievements are awarded for repeat play and for surpassing game milestones that they can share with friends. Time travelers will also be offered chances to win special prizes.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Academy Award-winning cinematic franchise that generated nearly $1 billion worldwide, the Back to the Future 25th Anniversary Trilogy is now available worldwide on Blu-ray and DVD, featuring all-new restorations of the classic films, says Telltale.

Telltale’s new Back to the Future: The Game series – featuring new adventures for Marty and Doc – is expected to burst out of the time space continuum beginning in December for PC and Mac, followed shortly by the PlayStation 3 and iPad.

A special pre-order offer for Back to the Future: The Game is now available at http://www.backtothefuturegame.com.

Telltale is a leading independent digital publisher of cinematic adventures playable on major gaming platforms.

From the Academy Award-winning filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis comes Back to the Future – the original adventure that sparked one of the most successful trilogies.

UP&L is part of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to the global audience.

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Rakesh Raman