Ubisoft gets into the social game at Facebook

Jul 18, 2009 by Glenn Chapman
Handout image from Ubisoft shows a screen shot of the "TickTock" computer game. The French videogame star Ubisoft made its debut in the online social scene by unveiling "Tick Tock" on Facebook which lets players arm virtual bombs by answering as many multiple-choice questions as possible in a minute about friends on Facebook.

French videogame star Ubisoft on Friday made its debut in the online social scene by unveiling a gaming portal at world-leading social-networking website Facebook.

UbiFriends portal came to life late Friday with a "TickTock" game that playfully challenges Facebook users to show how much they know about their friends.

Unisoft's social debut came as the popularity of games at Facebook soars and industry titans grow increasingly interested in creating titles for the social-networking platform.

"We are going to try to make the best game applications for Facebook just like we try to make the best applications for Xbox360 and and PlayStation," said North American president of Ubisoft Laurent Detoc, referring to videogame consoles made by Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony respectively.

"TickTock" lets players arm virtual bombs by answering as many multiple-choice questions in a minute as possible about friends on Facebook.

Game software taps into Facebook status updates of players' friends for material for questions.

Virtual explosives range from cherry bombs to nukes and air strikes. "TickTock" bombs are sent to personal animated "warehouses" at an UbiFriends portal linked to Facebook.

People receiving bombs get 60 seconds to defuse them by quickly getting as many correct answers as the senders.

"We are very excited about what Ubisoft is doing here," Facebook platform manager Gareth Davis said while taking part in a demonstration of 'TickTock' at Ubisoft offices in downtown San Francisco.

"Ubisoft is using the social graph people share every day on Facebook to make a fun game uniquely tailored for Facebook users."

Facebook claims 250 million users and says games are the most popular software applications at the service.

Facebook saw a spike in interest from major videogame industry studios after Microsoft announced at a major this year that consoles will be able to connect online to Facebook.

"The Xbox announcement was an inflection point where the traditional videogame industry shifted from thinking Facebook was cool to thinking what cool games they can make using Facebook," Davis said.

Facebook is an irresistible platform for Ubisoft given its huge unabated popularity, according to Ubisoft producer Omar Abdelwahed, head of the 'TickTock' team.

"The future of games is obviously digital," Abdelwahed said. "Games are following where software is going, software as a service."

Ubisoft plans to be "everywhere in the realm of entertainment experiences," according to Detoc.

Ubisoft is a believer in the convergence of films and videogames, and last year bought Canadian special effects firm Hybride, which worked on animated action films "300" and "Sin City."

Ubisoft will be releasing this year short films based on its blockbuster "Assassin's Creed" videogame, a sequel to which will be released in November.

Ubisoft is collaborating with famed director James Cameron on a title crafted as an extension of his highly-anticipated 3D movie "Avatar."

Online social networking is a "very important, very big" platform for gaming and Ubisoft is staking out a place there, according to Detoc.

Ubisoft will launch more games at UbiFriends this year and is open to linking to MySpace or other services, said Abdelwahed.

'TickTock' is free and Ubisoft is working out how it will make money from social gaming.

When 'TickTock' is announced formally next week, it will have a Twitter channel so people can get text alerts when friends send them virtual bombs.

UbiFriends is being hosted online at Google App Engine, so the Internet giant has servers ready to handle gameplay loads should 'TickTock' go "viral" as Ubisoft hopes.

"You could have a few thousand users or see your traffic go to a couple of million users," said Google App Engine product manager Mike Repass.

"We handle all that for you."

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Social networking aggregator sues Facebook

Jul 10, 2009

(AP) -- In a counter-punch to the world's biggest online hangout, a small Web company called Power.com has sued Facebook, saying it doesn't follow its own policy of giving users control over their content.

Recommended for you

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

Apr 18, 2014

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

Apr 18, 2014

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

White House updating online privacy policy

Apr 18, 2014

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...