Mobile Gaming News Roundup

Each week MobileCrunchArcade compiles the biggest news from the world of mobile gaming.

Vivendi Games Mobile announced a list of its big name game releases that will become available in the first half of this year. Most of these titles are based on television shows and movies, so if the Hollywood writer’s strike is getting you down you can look to your mobile phone for comfort. Titles include: Prison Break, based on a Fox television show; SWAT Elite Troops, a sequel to the 2006 Spike TV Videogames Awards Mobile Game of the Year; The Bourne Conspiracy, based on Robert Ludlum’s books and blockbuster film franchise; The Spiderwick Chronicles, an adaptation from the upcoming movie with the same title. Vivendi will also be releasing Wordox: Word Snatcher, a network-connected multiplayer game based on the popular Wordox online game. So forget about re-runs and reality television. Grab your mobile phone and get into some fun entertainment.

Juniper Research released a report this week that predicts mobile gaming revenues in North America will increase from less than $800 million to over $3 billion by 2012. (Incidentally, 2012 is the year the Mayan colander ends. I’m hoping they just ran out of rock to chisel on and weren’t predicting the end of the world.) 18 million Americans download or rent mobile games a least once per year, but Juniper predicts that as user interfaces improve and business models change, the number of mobile gamers will greatly increase. Juniper predicts that in-game advertising, free trial periods and better marketing will all come together to make mobile gaming a billion dollar industry in North America. Mobile gaming is a great leap in civilization. Even the Mayans couldn’t cradle all that greatness in a handheld calendar.

If bikini-clad women around a pool excite you, you will be happy to learn that THQ Wireless has partnered with Playboy Enterprises to bring Playboy-branded mobile games to the palm of your hand. The first release, set for launch this summer, is Playboy Games: Pool Party. Hef’s hotties compete in water balloon fights, waterslide slaloms and aquatic mechanical bull riding. Don’t worry, this game won’t make you go blind but it could run your battery down.

Tom and Jerry are back in an as yet named game from GlobalFun. The cat and mouse have already appeared in a couple of mobile titles from Glu Mobile, but Glu has since lost the rights to the popular cartoon characters. In this next incarnation, you play Jerry as he tries to navigate through 12 levels of a frantic maze across a house, garden and basement. There are many traps and one angry cat to avoid as the intrepid Jerry forges ahead. There is even cheese, which is rumored to be a mouse delicacy. I must admit I’ve never been a fan of Tom & Jerry. I always cheer for the cat but somehow the mouse is always able to thwart him.

That is this week’s mobile gaming news roundup. Remember to exercise those thumbs, recharge the battery and never take your eyes off the screen.