Majesco announced on Thursday the launch of Cooking Mama Friends' Cafe
, the debut of the popular cooking game franchise on Facebook.
The Cooking Mama
franchise debuted in 2006, and has players cooking meals using various ingredients and cooking methods within mini-games.
The series has appeared in boxed games for Nintendo DS and Wii. In May 2009, Majesco, the series' U.S. publisher, said the franchise had sold 4 million units domestically
The new Cooking Mama Friends' Cafe
for Facebook also uses the series' established cooking mini-game formula, Majesco said, but it also incorporates new "menu and customer management within an economy driven restaurant." Players can earn experience points and coins if they please customers.
The game is free-to-play, but players can also buy virtual items such as special ingredients and kitchen decorations with "virtual and real dollars."
Majesco explained that "players must return regularly and cook to maintain the business or risk their restaurant shutting down for good."
The publisher is typically known for lower-budget mass market-targeted boxed games. But Majesco said Cooking Mama Friends' Cafe
"marks Majesco’s first entry into social gaming as they announce a targeted, strategic focus into the digital entertainment space."
While Majesco said the new Cooking Mama
title is its first Facebook game, the company's website states it launched Large Animal Games'-developed Bananagrams
in summer 2008. But a Majesco rep clarified for Gamasutra that Cooking Mama Friends' Cafe
is "the first full featured micro-transaction based game for Majesco."