Jimmy Buffett has turned his 1977 hit tune “Margaritaville” into a multifaceted business empire that encompasses restaurants, hotels and casinos, and merchandise.
Now the crooner-turned-entrepreneur’s company is looking to further extend his chilled-out, tropically resonant brand into new avenues of media and entertainment, starting with a casual mobile game slated to launch this summer.
Margaritaville Enterprises, aiming to delight Buffett buffs, is creating the app with game developer FunPlus. The Margaritaville game, to be released around Comic-Con International in July, will let fans find their lost shakers of salt and explore other Margaritaville-themed experiences in “a virtual paradise.”
Heading up Margaritaville Enterprises’ content initiatives is Laura Lee, president of media and chief digital officer, who joined the company last year after eight years at YouTube. “Margaritaville is so much more than just a product or a destination — it’s a lifestyle — and we want to bring that escapist attitude to the digital realm with Margaritaville’s first-ever casual mobile game,” Lee said.
Casual gaming is one of the fastest-growing segments in digital media, she noted. “Our strategic partnership with FunPlus allows us to connect with loyal fans in a fresh and exciting way while also tapping the interest of new audiences,” Lee said.
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Margaritaville has more than 15 million visitors annually at its physical locations and 5 million followers across social media. That will serve as a large core base audience for Margaritaville’s content productions, according to Lee.
The company’s current media properties include streaming-video site Margaritaville.tv and Radio Margaritaville, a 24-hour music service available online and on Sirius XM satellite radio.
Separately, Buffett is working on a new musical centered around his music slated to bow in the spring of 2017 at San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse.
FunPlus’ flagship game, Family Farm, is played by over 4 million users daily. Founded in 2010, the company has more than 200 employees and is based in Beijing, China, with offices in San Francisco and Vancouver.
In 2012, the “Margaritaville Online” casual game for Facebook, set in a 3D virtual world, was released by THQ in association with Buffett. The game was shut down less than two years later.