Social games news roundup: Bossa Studion launch Merlin, Playdom celebrates Halloween, Peter Moore on the state of social games and more

DisneyUTV releases Cricket Fever Challenge – On Wednesday DisneyUTV released its multi-platform multiplayer cricket game Cricket Fever Challenge. The game allows players to challenge their friends to matches across iOS and Android devices as well as through Facebook. The game also keeps track of players’ performance with leader boards and Player Profile Cards in the style of Xbox Live’s Gamertags.

Bossa Studios’ Merlin: The Game launches open beta — Fans of the hit BBC television show can now play Merlin: The Game. Developed by Bossa Studios, makers of the BAFTA winning social game Monstermind, Merlin: The Game aims to introduce casual players to a deeper, real-time cooperative role-playing game. We published a very favorable review of the game which you can find here.

Disney Playdom launches spooky Halloween content for top games — Disney is adding Halloween-themed content to many of its game as the holiday approaches. Ghosts of Mistwood now features four new ghastly locations and the Pretty Little Liars 5 Days of Gifting promotion in which players investigate the Ghost Train from the Pretty Little Liars Halloween special. In the Time Crystal chapter of Gardens of Time players explore buildings like Haunted Mansion. Even Marvel: Avengers will celebrate Halloween with new missions featuring Ghost Rider, and in Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers players can build Haunted Tents and rescue Black Cats and Scarecrows.

Lima Sky partners with Ravenburger — Doodle Jump developer Lima Sky announced that it partnered with German board game manufacturer Ravensburger to create the first Doodle Jump board game. The announcement comes on the heels of the latest major Doodle Jump content update (also Halloween-themed) that is slated to release at the end of October.

Warner Bros. signs Spooky Cool Labs to develop Wizard of Oz Facebook game – Spooky Cool Labs announced it acquired the license from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to develop and publish an online social game based on the classic movie The Wizard of Oz. The license grants access to the film’s beloved characters, music and likenesses, including the likeness of Judy Garland’s (Dorothy), Margret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch of the West) and others. Closed Beta testing of the game is already underway. Interested players can Like the game’s new App Page to participate as testers.

EA’s Peter Moore responds to Zynga layoffs, state of social games – “We always feel bad when people lose their jobs,” Electronic Arts’ COO Peter Moore told Eurogamer in an interview. “Our hope is certainly… those folks can get re-employed pretty quickly.” Kind words considering EA’s and Zynga’s ongoing legal dispute and public name calling. Moore also countered a lot of the doomsaying which followed the recent layoffs and departures at the social gaming giant. “I think [social gaming] just got a little overhyped. And now the demise is being overhyped the opposite way. I still think there’s a strong place for social gaming. I think a lot of social gaming is moving [to] mobile. We feel well positioned to take advantage of that. And people shouldn’t read too much into whatever is going on with Zynga.” Read the full Eurogamer interview here.

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