BioWare, software giant behind PC and console games such as Baldur's Gate, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect, have released their first Facebook game under the title "The Gift of the Yeti," and it's not just free -- it's for charity.

(Relaxnews) -

BioWare, software giant behind PC and console games such as Baldur's Gate, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect, have released their first Facebook game under the title "The Gift of the Yeti," and it's not just free - it's for charity.

The aim of the game is to take charge of a friendly yeti on Christmas Eve. Santa Claus has been struck down with a mystery illness, and the sympathetic mountain monster has volunteered to save Christmas by delivering presents around town. Unfortunately, as a first-time festive loot lugger, the yeti is not quite as nimble as Saint Nick and must evade the local police force while at the same time making sure the red-suited old man's reputation is kept intact.

BioWare has pledged to donate 1 US cent to children's charity Child's Play every time the game is played, and have a stated target of $10,000, which equates to 1 million plays worldwide. Child's Play was set up only three years ago but already has established itself as a formidable fundraising force for pediatric hospitals.

Last week, Escapist Magazine teamed up with the humorists at Loading Ready Run to present a continuous videogame playing marathon featuring the most boring game ever played, which hauled in nearly $140,000 in donations, and Child's Play themselves have been encouraging generous giving with various pledges and drives meaning that this year's running total is currently a touch over $1,000,000.

The money then goes to support a variety of children's hospitals, with over 60 donor sites based in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, and Egypt.

BioWare has further sweetened the deal by offering players of "The Gift of the Yeti" a $10-off-voucher for their recent epic role-playing adventure Dragon Age: Origins when purchased at Electronic Arts' online store.

Parent company Electronic Arts is getting involved more and more in social gaming, with the success of the Sims series and having bought out Playfish, one of the top social gaming developers. They have recently outlined plans to take the iconic strategy franchise Command & Conquer and make it more social, and presumably in doing so making it less niche and increasingly accessible for new players.

Firaxis, a subsidiary of another large videogames publisher Take Two, also has announced plans to bring the exploration and resource-management franchise Civilization into the social networking world with a new game in the series developed specifically for Facebook, and given the fervor surrounding resource-management-lite games such as "FarmVille" and "Café World," that may not be such a bad idea at all.

The Gift of the Yeti on Facebook: http://apps.facebook.com/giftoftheyeti

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