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Phone favorite 'Fruit Ninja' slashing its way onto Kinect, Facebook

Doug Gross
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'Fruit Ninja' slices its way to Kinect
  • "Fruit Ninja" is an addictive mobile game that has lived among the top 10 iPhone apps
  • Game is coming to Kinect, and there are plans for an app on Facebook
  • "Fruit Ninja" will be added to the Xbox Live Arcade and sell for about $10
  • Apps
  • FarmVille
  • Social Gaming
  • Video Games

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Conquering the Apple Store apparently wasn't enough for these ninjas.

"Fruit Ninja," the simple but addictive mobile game that has lived among the top 10 iPhone apps (trailing only "Angry Birds" in popularity) since it debuted last spring is coming to Kinect, Microsoft's motion-control system for the Xbox.

And these stealthy martial artists are launching an assault on "FarmVille" soon, too, with plans for Facebook app.

The moves mark a new phase in the rise of social gaming, which has brought in millions of nontraditional gamers (i.e. younger, older and female players) via Facebook and mobile phones. Compare this crowd with traditional gamers who tend to play games on living room consoles such as the Xbox or PlayStation.

At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Halfbrick, the makers of "Fruit Ninja," showed off preview versions of both new games.

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Halfbrick spokesman Phil Larsen said Kinect, which reads a person's body movements, was a natural fit for a game where players use a sword to slash through flying watermelons, bananas and other edible targets.

"We knew we could do it well for Kinect," he said. "We knew we could take advantage of the technology."

At an E3 demo, players were able to use both hands to slash -- karate-chop style -- at the flying fruit on a big screen in front of them.

"Fruit Ninja Kinect" will be the only Kinect title among five games that will be added to the Xbox Live Arcade as part of a summer promotion in the coming weeks. Larsen said it will probably sell for about $10.

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Developers were covetous of the casual gamers that have adopted the Kinect for its family and party-style games. But they also hope to attract the more serious Xbox 360 players who spend most of their time on hardcore titles.

"It's almost a little bit of an escape," Larsen said. "They spend five hours playing 'Call of Duty,' then they say 'Hey, I can play this for a little while and relax.' "

The Facebook version, "Fruit Ninja Frenzy," is expected to be available in the next few weeks.

In the mode of "FarmVille" and other Facebook games, it will be free to play while offering extras for a small fee.

Duncan Curtis, executive producer of the game, thinks "Fruit Ninja" could topple perennial Facebook staples such as "Bejeweled Blitz."

"I think it's the best arcade game (for a venue like Facebook) that's ever existed," he said. "We have 3 year olds to 100 year olds who play 'Fruit Ninja.' "

He said players will be able to link to a new, free Apple Store version of "Fruit Ninja Frenzy" so they can continue their play between the desktop and their phones or tablet computers.


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