As video game sales sunk last year about 11 percent, mobile phone games were on the rise by 9 percent. The film studios' video game titles have sometimes been hit and miss, but they are jumping into mobile video games with success.
Fast & Furious was number 18 on iTunes' Top 100 paid apps, and three film games, Transformers, Alice and Fast & Furious: Test Drive also made the Top 100. More than 30 movie-based mobile games are available.
Most costs for the games are kept low or free (though some paying games also offer "light" versions for free). This will likely change in the future as the quality improves and numbers increase. In 2008, 60 million North Americans had smartphones but estimates claim that by 2013, the number will be closer to 240 million.
Usually released in advance of a film's opening in theaters, the games are meant to market the movie. Harry Potter is free and Fast & Furious is 99 cents, but Avatar is $6.99. Coming on March 23, is How to Train Your Dragon, three days before the film release in the US.
Here are samples of popular movie mobile games:
- Alice in Wonderland -an Adventure Beyond the Mirror ($4.99 plus a light version): Gamers wander down the Rabbit Hole and battle Jabberwocky, playing from the viewpoint of the Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat. Multiplayer features allow gamers to team up.
- Avatar ($6.99): Through 15 levels in the world of Pandora, from human-built mines to natural waterfalls and lush jungles, players join the story decades before the events in the film, allowing players a chance to save the Na'vi from human invaders.
- Fast & Furious, The Game: (99 cents). Players race against other iPhone users on the simulated streets of Los Angeles, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Players can even download songs from iTunes collection as background music.
- Harry Potter: Half Blood Prince (Free): Gamers use magic spells, confront enemies and fight Death Eaters to save the Hogwarts.
- Terminator Salvation ($3.99). Gamers turn into little Terminators from scrap metal while dodging debris from war.
Some games are available through phone carriers and specialty sites.