Tokyo Timewarp: Toshiba's venture into social media marketing

From the surface, Tokyo Timewarp (@tokyotimewarp) looks like any well-funded, but aspiring casual game amidst the many titles playable on Facebook. Beneath the surface though, there’s an object of interest to see the key players behind this product.

Tokyo Timewarp is a joint project between Toshiba Singapore, the regional hub for Toshiba in South East Asia, in partnerships with Intel. One of the regional marketing guys sent me a Facebook invite the other day explaining that this was regional’s first venture into social media, which is saying a lot since not too many technology companies — especially if they’re based in Japan — take the risk in this turf.

Tokyo Timewarp’s mechanics put you in a time-space rift where modern and medieval Japan are merged together. You can choose from several themed character classes with different abilities, and you go through a series of casual games of dodging toy planes, playing tug of war, and even participating in a spelling contest.

The business model is even simpler: building community (and an information database) through Facebook fans. The app allows you to invite more friends to increase the size of your clan, thus allowing you to complete challenges at a more convenient pace (different classes of characters are more well-suited to complete certain tasks more efficiently). Winners from participating countries in South East Asia get to win several prizes from Toshiba. If you’re not from SEA, you can still play, but without the prizes.

Truthfully, the gameplay is definitely sub par for the sole reason that it isn’t engaging enough for players to actually get into. And when it fails to be successful, corporate might even decide that social media isn’t effective. But who am I to say that this early on. Give it a try.

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