It’s the second most popular mobile game after Angry Birds, and now Fruit Ninja, like its predecessor, is jumping platforms and out of the gaming world. The gaming brand recently announced a feature film adaptation and now it will take the action into IRL, using Facebook Live. On July 14th, branded entertaiment production companies SXM, Halfbrick Studios, the creator of Fruit Ninja, will produce an esports style live Fruit Ninja tournament that will air as a 90-minute special on the gaming app’s Facebook page, where over 6 million people have become followers. The show will begin at 5 PM PT / 8 PM ET.
Leading up to the big live event, Fruit Ninja is using its Facebook page to accept applications for participants who want to duel in “American Gladiator” format. Twelve warriors will be selected to combat in various disciplines including ninja, kendo, fencing, medieval sword fighting. According to the release, “warriors will use thier weapon of choice and compete head to head in chopping a cocktail of different fruits, which will be launched at them in real-time.”
Viewers will be able to interact with the warriors in real-time as well and will ultimately determine the winner, who will be memorialized as a permanent character in the upcoming Fruit Ninja updated version.
“After celebrating its fifth birthday last year, we are looking to take Fruit Ninja to fresh new places. The latest update will introduce new concepts to the game whilst maintaining the fruit slicing fun we all know and love,” said Halfbrick’s Chief Marketing Officer Nicholas Cornelius. “We are excited to work with SXM, to bring a real life Fruit Ninja tournament to our fans,” he said.
For the special, SXM will go above and beyond the typical live stream experience enabled by Facebook Live by upping the production value to include multiple cameras and a rigged set closer to what you’d see in traditional live broadcasts.
Of the executions of Facebook Live, Fruit Ninja may just be on to something. I’ve personally been skeptical on whether live streaming can truly take off this time, despite big announcements from both Facebook, and recently YouTube, touting a commitment to the format. In cable days, pay-per-view eventing drove massive traction around live sporting events. The Fruit Ninja tournament plugs into both historically proven trends as well as the more recent hype around esports and esport tournaments that took Twitch into the billion dollar valuation territory.
Other companies like Little Things and Cheddar have taken more straight forward approaches to Facebook Live with upped production value and are seeing strong traction there as well though.
Should Fruit Ninja Live be deemed a success, it could serve as a model of how live video and live video eventing can take off, for real this time.