“Ted,” the 2012 comedy from Seth MacFarlane about a raunchy, beer-swilling teddy bear, has landed in a virtual casino.
Social-games developer Zynga has licensed the “Ted” character to be part of its free-to-play “Hit It Rich Slots” game, seeking to ring up a younger, male-skewing demo. The “Ted” version of the slots game is available on Facebook, but isn’t yet available in the mobile app of Hit It Rich for iPhone and iPad. Initially, the “Ted” level in the game includes five clips from the pic and 30 pieces of movie dialogue, including the bear’s quip that “I look like Snuggle’s accountant.”
“‘Ted’ is really popular with people in their 20s,” said Joe Kaminkow, Zynga’s chief game designer for Hit It Rich. “It’s part of their pop-culture vernacular.”
SEE ALSO: ‘Ted 2′ Gets June 2015 Release Date
“Hit It Rich” also features several other licensed entertainment brands, including “Wizard of Oz,” “Sex and the City,” “Beverly Hillbillies,” “Elvira,” “Duck Dynasty” and “The Terminator.” The slots game is free, offering in-app virtual currency purchases and serving ads.
Zynga’s goal with the licensing strategy is to stand out amid the plethora of other free slot-machine games in the market, said COO Clive Downie. “This gives us a chance to be attractive out of the gate with consumers… it’s ready-made awareness.” Added Kaminkow, “A mouse doll will not sell as well as a Mickey Mouse doll.”
Zynga, best known for its “FarmVille” and “Words With Friends” games that originally launched on Facebook, has been trying to diversify with new games like “Hit It Rich” and by boosting its focus on mobile games. Last year, the company laid off 520 employees, or 18% of its workforce, after a steep drop in revenue. For the full year 2013, Zynga posted revenue of $873.3 million (down 32%) and a net loss of $40 million versus a net loss of $209.5 million in 2012.
Zynga, which hired former Xbox head Don Mattrick as CEO last July, faces fierce competition in the casual games space. Competitors include Rovio, Supercell and King Digital, the maker of “Candy Crush,” which has filed for an IPO expected this month valuing the company at up to $7.6 billion.
“Hit It Rich” launched in December 2013; the company would not disclose number of active users, but the game’s Facebook page currently has 1.5 million likes. The company says Zynga Casino, which includes Hit it Rich and a poker game, has been played by more than 350 million users to date.
Zynga cut the deal for “Ted” with licensing entity Striker Entertainment, which worked with studio Media Rights Capital (MRC) on the pact. “Ted” has grossed more than $540 million worldwide at the box office, making it among the top-grossing R-rated films.