Best Buy Opens Digital Doors to CityVille

The electronics retailer has partnered with online game CityVille's developer-Zynga-to allow players to build in-game Best Buy stores.

Best Buy seems to have taken its recent focus on digital strategies to a new level by letting people open virtual stores.

The Richfield-based company became the first retailer to open its doors to the virtual world of CityVille, a city-building simulation game developed by San Francisco-based Zynga, which also developed the popular Facebook game-FarmVille. CityVille, also available on Facebook, allows players to become the mayor of a virtual city and to oversee its development into a large metropolis.

The two companies announced Wednesday that CityVille players can build their very own in-game Best Buy stores-now through September 6.

Throughout the week, players can tap an in-game Best Buy store for virtual items-including a smartphone, DSLR camera, refrigerator, TV, and a “deal of the day” badge-for perks such as experience points, energy to boost their game play, game coins, and Geek Squad cars that are dispatched into their virtual city. Players also receive a limited edition decorative item when they set up a store.

“We are constantly looking for unexpected ways to stay connected with our customers through new digital platforms, and with the popularity of CityVille, this was a natural step for us,” Alix Hart, senior director of digital marketing at Best Buy, said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing how players engage with us in these new virtual landscapes.”

Best Buy said “players can also start thinking about sprucing up their city for the holidays,” as the company plans to launch a similar week-long effort with Zynga on November 6.

Best Buy is Minnesota's third-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $49.7 billion for the fiscal year that ended in February 2010. The company reported $50.3 billion in revenue during its most recently completed fiscal year.