To promote Gangsta Zombies, Gamestop is handing out promotion cards with a code for free in-game currency at its retail stores — and, for players that are already, hooked, selling $10 pre-paid cards that give access to premium content.
We’ve seen a number of big brands try to reach the Facebook audience through social games, as well as large traditional game companies like Electronic Arts and Ubisoft, but GameStop probably has something of a unique angle.
Some companies, most notably Zynga, have tried to reach potential paying users who can’t pay online with in-store game cards sold at retail locations like Walgreens; GameStop already has the retail locations and sells other companies’ cards, so it just needs to create its own titles to better take advantage of the trend.
For now, the effort isn’t likely to go far. Gangsta Zombies itself is not a great game, unless you absolutely love zombie humor. Otherwise it’s a pretty direct take on the Mafia Wars genre, with little that stands out. Since it was put on Facebook well before the promotion, we can see that a dismal percentage of users come back on a daily basis — only four percent, according to AppData. Most winning games come in around 20 percent.
But it’s still interesting that Gamestop is trying. With a healthy following among the under-served young male demographic — those that are most likely to need prepaid cards, and currently least likely to be playing Facebook games — the company is in a good position to exploit Facebook’s game community, if only it can find a winning title.