Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sir Mix A Lot Tries His Hand At Video Games

How much do you know about Seattle's own Grammy-winning rap star and notorious big-booty fan, Sir Mix-A-Lot?

Now you can find out in a social-gaming adventure where fans and Facebook junkies alike can play Mix-N-Match with Sir Mix-A-Lot: a trivia game where the rap star weighs in on quirky dilemmas — would he rather get a Snuggie or a Shamwow, is he more afraid of tornadoes or earthquakes?

From Facebook to Twitter, experts say this type of social gaming is becoming the newest marketing phenomenon. Seattle-based Giant Thinkwell, the creator of Mix-A-Lot's game, recently raised $600,000 from Madrona Venture Group, Founder's Co-op and other unnamed angel investors, to fuel more interactive games where celeb fans answer questions and have a chance to win prizes.

Scott Jacobson, a partner at Madrona, which has invested in companies such as, said once social media hit big and celebrities began acquiring a large number of online fans, an opportunity arose.

"So you have 200,000 fans. Then what do you do? How do you keep them engaged?" he asked. "The answer: social gaming."

According to research firm Parks Associates, more than 300 million people are playing games on Facebook each month. And with 20 percent of players paying cash for in-game benefits, that pushed revenues for social-gaming companies over $1 billion in 2010, the firm reported.

Thinkwell, which creates games to connect fans with celebrities, was co-founded by former Microsoft marketing exec Kevin Leneway, artist and designer Kyle Kesterson, and Adam Tratt, a veteran of game-company Cranium.

It debuted in February with its first Facebook game, Celebrity Baby Jackpot, which was played by more than 250,000 users and ranked among the top 5 percent of all Facebook games shortly after its launch, according to the company.

Tratt, chief executive of Thinkwell, said the Mix-A-Lot game took two months to create, and since its launch Tuesday it has boosted the Seattle star's Facebook fans from 1,200 to some 20,000.

To generate revenue, he said, Thinkwell has included virtual items that give players a leg up — if they pay. Point multipliers and energy drinks, for example, can be purchased to play for longer, helping fans move closer to winning the grand prize: a ride down Broadway with Sir Mix-A-Lot in his Lamborghini.

Players also will have the chance to win a personalized video shout-out posted on Facebook or receive an exclusive track.

"We're getting Mix to do a virtual high-five with his fans," said Tratt.

The Seattle rap star, born Anthony Ray, said getting into social gaming is a reflection of the technogeek in him.

Over the next year, Mix-A-Lot said, fans can expect to see a lot more of this as he prepares to launch a new company and celebrate the 20th anniversary of "Baby Got Back," his hit single.

Mix-A-Lot said he plans to stay in Seattle — a city where his fans have contributed to the longevity of his career.

"They treat me like I'm one of their own, talk to me like I'm anyone else," Mix-A-Lot said. "And that's what I like. They're my kind of people."

No comments:

Post a Comment