Booyah, the developer of the location-based iPhone game MyTown, is announcing an interesting partnership with Facebook today. MyTown players will now be able to earn Facebook Credits by checking into real-world locations, as well as receive credits by completing sets of virtual items
The easiest way to understand the deal is to see Facebook as just another brand partner for My Town, taking a place alongside more traditional retail brands like H&M and PNG.
Each company should benefit. On MyTown’s side, the game is giving users another reason to keep playing, as well as associating itself with a prominent platform. “We’ve always wanted to understand how we can drive traffic from other platforms into our product,” Keith Lee, Booyah’s CEO, tells us. “And secondly, we want more people to get use our app with Facebook Connect. It’s a really great synergistic aspect,” he says.
As for Facebook, the company has been working hard to bring more user attention to Credits, which a large number of games on Facebook now use (though few use Credits exclusively). Previous promotions, like a Credits giveaway through CrowdStar, have taken place mainly on the site, but MyTown will give Facebook a way into the iPhone market.
In the future, this kind of partnership could become even more interesting. A number of Facebook games are spreading out to mobile platforms like Android and iPhone, as well as other web destinations; Credits could thus take on a value outside of Facebook, and conceivably even be traded for real-world goods or services, since they’ll have a defined value across a broad virtual economy.
Lee says that Booyah is currently figuring out its own strategy of how to tie virtual goods more strongly to the real-world fun of location-based gaming, although he’s not willing to give any more details for now. But Booyah should have plenty of options, as it also seems to have a quiet strategy around publishing other games, like Facebook’s Nightclub City (which we just chose as our top game of the year).
A quick update on MyTown: it’s still the largest location-based app out of the trio of itself, Foursquare and Gowalla, with 2.5 million users, up from about a million in February. Lee says that the game has an even reach across the country, unlike the tech-heavy audiences of some other location-based games.