The centerpiece of the deal is "Dead Man's Tale," an interactive game featuring Billy Bones, the movie's skull-and-crossbones title icon. Created by agency 42 Entertainment, the game is designed to immerse consumers in the world of the movie using Windows Live Messenger tools.
Players are encouraged to join the crew of the Black Pearl as they move through challenges using Messenger's communication, sharing and interactivity features. As users complete challenges, they unlock details about the "Dead Man's Chest" storyline from Mr. Bones. Once they conquer the final challenge, players are rewarded with an exclusive film clip from "Dead Man's Chest" available only through Windows Live Messenger.
In addition to the game, Disney and Microsoft have created a treasure trove of new "Pirates of the Caribbean"-related backgrounds, display images, Winks and other content for consumers to use in personalizing their Windows Live Messenger IM conversations.
"With Windows Live Messenger, fans have the opportunity to interact with the world of the film by themselves or with friends and family," said Cherise McVicar, senior VP-national promotions for Buena Vista Pictures Marketing.
Windows Live Messenger is one of the first products to make its debut under Microsoft's "Live" brand. The company is renaming some products and launching others under the brand as it tries to offer more Web-based products.
"The launch of Windows Live Messenger represents a significant 'down payment' on the Windows Live vision and an important milestone for the business," said Martin Taylor, corporate VP-Windows Live and MSN at Microsoft.
The free Windows Live Messenger -- available in beta until this week -- is an upgrade of the software maker's tool for quickly communicating online, formally known as MSN Messenger.
As such products have become more and more popular among a range of audiences, Microsoft and its rivals have raced to meet demand. AOL, the current leader in the space, is in the process of adding new features to its service. And Yahoo said earlier this week it is now inviting outside developers to create complementary plug-in programs for its messaging service.