Enrique Iglesias is getting an unlikely new neighbor. Canadian crooner Michael Bublé has partnered with Zynga, creator of the Facebook gaming phenomena FarmVille and Mafia Wars, to make a virtual appearance in CityVille this Christmas. CityVille is Zynga’s most popular game and boasts 49 million monthly users, according to AppData.com.
The new integration has been timed perfectly for the holiday season. Michael Bublé’s Christmas is currently Number One on the Billboard charts. "It’s the Number One album meets the Number One Facebook game," Scott Koenigsberg, general manager of CityVille, tells Rolling Stone.
Starting this week, users will be able to mingle with Bublé’s avatar by walking around their city’s snow-covered streets and competing in quests to collect some of Buble’s favorite things, such as a Segway and a hockey stick. Bublé’s band adds to the holiday cheer by throwing a winter wonderland-inspired bonfire. An exclusive video of Bublé singing will also be unveiled at some point during gameplay.
And what does the real-life Bublé get out of going virtual? "It’s an interesting way to engage with fans in a medium that they don’t usually have access to," Koenigsberg said. "Who knew that Michael Bublé liked hockey?"
The supposedly closeted Canadian hockey fan is not the first famous face to inhabit the world of CityVille. Enrique Iglesias launched his Euphoria tour with a similar promotion, and Michael Jackson was virtually resurrected in CityVille to help sell tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s The Immortal Tour. Overall, this year has sure been a starstruck one for Zynga: Lady Gaga had her own branded unicorns in FarmVille, and Dr. Dre streamed music for Mafia Wars. The social gaming company uses Facebook insights and likes to decide which entertainment-branded experiences will resonate most effectively with their users.
Zynga, who just went public last week, secured the biggest tech IPO since Google.