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Jamie Oliver is the latest celebrity to jump into social games

May 19, 2011 |  4:52 pm

Jamie Oliver TV chef Jamie Oliver has become the latest celebrity to dive into online social games.

The British chef, whose "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" television show aims to change American eating habits, is making a debut on Restaurant City, a game played by 1.4 million people a day, according to AppData.com.

For the next month, Oliver's signature dishes will make an appearance in the game, in which players operate virtual restaurants.

“I’m always interested in new social media and I hope that by creating my recipes in the virtual world, the Restaurant City community will be inspired to try making them for real,” Oliver said.

The agreement between Oliver and Electronic Arts, Restaurant City's publisher, comes days after rival game developer Zynga launched its campaign with Lady Gaga to promote the songstress' upcoming album, "Born This Way."

Zynga built GagaVille, a play on its popular FarmVille game, a virtual farm decked out with sheep on motorcycles and unicorns.

Dr. Dre last year used Zynga's Mafia Wars to help promote a single, "Kush." With Oliver as the third big celeb to hook up with social games, will others be far behind?

The appeal of social games, even for established stars, is their massive audiences. More than 250 million people play games every month on Facebook, the dominant social networking platform with 600 million users.

EA's Playfish studio, which develops the company's social games, operates about 40 games on Facebook. Restaurant City is the company's third largest game, with 5.5 million players a month. Other Playfish games include Pet Society, Madden Superstars and Monopoly Millionaires.

-- Alex Pham

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