Billy Bones, the skull and cross bones icon for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, is helping launch Windows Live Messenger, which officially became available on Monday.

The fruit of a partnership between Microsoft and Walt Disney, this promotion centers of “Dead Man’s Tale,” an interactive game featuring Billy Bones. This cross promotion not only showcases the new features of Windows Live Messenger, a re-launch of MSN Messenger, but also Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, which opens July 7.

42 Entertainment, a marketing company specializing in immersive entertainment-based marketing campaigns, created the game to immerse users in the movie’s world using the tools available through Windows Live Messenger.

“With Windows Live Messenger fans have the opportunity to interact with the world of the film by themselves or with friends and family who may be thousands of miles away,” said Cherise McVicar, senior vice president of National Promotions for Buena Vista Pictures Marketing.

To play the game, you join the crew of the Black Pearl and use Messenger’s communication, sharing and interactive features to move through a variety of challenges. As you complete these challenges, you unlock details about the storyline from Dead Man’s Chest, revealed by Billy Bones. If you complete all the challenges, you will be treated to an exclusive clip from the movies only available through Messenger. There are both single-player and multi-player versions available.

To complement the game, Disney and Microsoft have created a variety of new Pirates of the Caribbean backgrounds, display images, Winks and other content for Messenger users to personalize their IM conversations.

Windows Live Messenger is one of the first products to be release under the Microsoft “Live” brand. “The launch of Windows Live Messenger represents a significant ‘down payment’ on the Windows Live vision,” said Martin Taylor, corporate vice president, Windows Live and MSN at Microsoft, “and an important milestone for the business.”

Microsoft is renaming some of their products and launching others under the “Live” brand as part of its effort to provide more web-based products.

For More Information:
Dead Man’s Tale: www.deadmanstale.com. Here you not only will find the gave, but a trailer for the game.
42 Entertainment: www.4orty2wo.com/what.html
Windows Live Messenger: messenger.live.com
Official Movie Website: disney.go.com/disneypictures/pirates.

My Comments:
I might be looking forward to seeing this movie — I loved the first one and the trailers for this one look fun — but I won’t be playing this game. Not only don’t I have the time, but I don’t use Windows unless I have to.