Harlequin seduces readers with hot new game

The romance publisher looks to hook new readers with an interactive game based on its mini-series The Royal House of Karedes.

Harlequin is getting into the romance game – literally.

The romance publishing giant today released a new downloadable game, Hidden Objects of Desire, as part of a licensing agreement it struck with Big Fish Games at the beginning of this year. The game is based on the popular Harlequin Presents mini-series The Royal House of Karedes. The game invites users to help news reporter Allie seduce the Prince of Aristo, whose birthday party she is covering for her publication. To achieve her salacious goals, Allie must solve a series of puzzles and find hidden objects on the prince’s palace grounds.

The game is available on the Big Fish site for $6.99, and Harlequin is hoping to enhance the brand experience for its 500,000-member online community, as well as attracting new fans via Big Fish’s fan base, which gobbles up the 1.5 million games per day worldwide that the brand distributes.

Renaud says that Harlequin will be promoting the game using its own channels, such as its website and its social media properties, including Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. As an added incentive, anyone who downloads the game within the first year of its release will also receive a free Harlequin Presents e-book.

The co-venture stemmed from meetings between the two companies in 2008, in which it was realized that the brands shared a similar target demographic, said Michelle Renaud, public relations senior manager, Harlequin Enterprises.

‘We learned a lot about the casual gaming market and discovered that their demographic mirrors ours – women 18 and over – who often spend time online enjoying strategy and puzzle games.’