LONG BEACH, Calif. – FarmVille meets Hot Wheels on Facebook with today’s launch of “Car Town,” a revved-up social game created by Cie Games (www.CieGames.com) that enshrines America’s love affair with the automobile and provides automakers with a new way to leverage gaming, social media, online advertising, customer interaction and product placement.
With Car Town (www.CarTown.com or www.facebook.com/cartown), a fun leisure activity doubles as a business opportunity for the entire automotive ecosystem. Automakers earn a licensing fee each time a player buys one of their virtual cars using cash or points. Honda has signed on to provide a custom, in-game showroom for its soon-to-launch CR-Z sport hybrid and will advertise via a virtual billboard also located within the game – all before the car is available to the public.
“Introducing the CR-Z to Car Town allows Honda to connect with customers at their point of passion,” said Steven Center, vice president of national marketing operations for American Honda. “With Car Town, participants can engage with and experience Honda in a fun and casual environment that’s not overtly commercial.”
Other Car Town licensing partners include DeLorean, Dodge, Fisker, Ford, General Motors, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Lotus, Mazda, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Opel, Ram Truck, Scion, Toyota, Vauxhall and Volkswagen.
“Car Town is the first major Facebook casual game to significantly integrate real world automotive brands into social gaming play,” said Justin Choi, president and CEO of Cie Games. “We are a company of car enthusiasts and so it was important for us to create a high-quality game that did justice to the brands we are working with. We know the car manufacturers have entrusted us with their brands and we take this very seriously.
“The feedback from players is that it doesn’t matter whether or not you would call yourself a ‘car person’ or a ‘gear-head’ – Car Town is addicting,” said Choi. “Moms are playing with their kids and talking about hydraulics and window-tinting – we’re bringing car talk into households that wouldn’t otherwise focus their attention on cars. While Facebook fan pages may be a good way to communicate with existing brand enthusiasts, Car Town is a way to create new fans.”
Players use virtual currency to purchase and customize hundreds of vehicles ranging from vintage Model Ts to AMC Pacers and 1960s muscle cars to luxury and exotics – even fire trucks, ice cream trucks and taco trucks – and store their collections in customizable virtual garages. Owners can take road trips, race against their friends and perform tasks – like delivering pizzas or servicing their friends’ cars – that earn them the points they need to purchase additional cars or car-related products and services, just as they would do in real life.
Cie Games designed Car Town to become a significant hub where brands can engage consumers on Facebook. There are 500 million Facebook users globally, and the leading games on Facebook draw 10+ million monthly active users each and drive a significant portion of the time spent on Facebook.
“We’ve spent 12 years as an interactive agency building relationships with automotive brands and helping them connect with consumers,” said Dennis Suggs, chief creative officer, Cie Games. “We really understand the emotional attachment people have to their cars, whether it’s their real-life car, their dream car or their first car. There’s so much potential – think about anything you can do to or with a car and all the different aspects of cars and car culture – we have so much real-world inspiration that we can draw from and put into the game.”
“Car Town provides a virtual case study for the way brands can use social media to engage consumers,” Choi said. “We’re providing brand interaction in a social and entertaining way. We expect Car Town to become a major automotive media property.”
About Cie Games
Cie Games creates high-quality online social games. Cie Games began as a development team within Cie Studios (www.CieStudios.com), a successful digital agency with a specialty in creating custom apps. Building on the foundation of 12 years of leading-edge interactive experience, Cie Games was spun off as a separate company to focus on its mission of developing original games that deliver higher quality, deeper engagement and a richer experience to game players.