Social gaming news roundup: Jersey Shore returns, social games slow down and Jesus takes on Diablo

The Situation brings Jersey Shore games to Facebook [Launch] — Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is trying his hand at video games again, this time on Facebook. The Situation partnered with Apps Genius Corp to launch The Situation and Family Boardwalk Arcade this week, which features arcade games that pay out redeemable prize tickets. These tickets are good for real world prizes, including temporary tattoos and gym bags, that will be mailed to players. The Situation’s last game was 2010’s Grenade Dodger, which landed him in legal hot water when it turned out the game contained photos of women who hadn’t agreed to have their likenesses used.

Study: Social games’ audience growth slows in U.S. — A new study from Frank N. Magid Associates shows 38 percent of social network users currently play social games, a year-over-year increase of just 2 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of females aged 12 to 44 who play social games is down from 54 percent in 2011 to 47 percent. Spending is also down, as the average player will spend $51 this year on social games, down from $78 last year.

Jesus comes to Facebook, shows no sympathy for the devil [Launch] — Developer Lightside Games decided to make Facebook a little more holy on the same day Blizzard’s Diablo III was released, launching Journey of Jesus: The Calling. Players travel with Jesus through the Gospels, learning about the history of Ancient Israel as they do so. Publications like The Escapist took note of Journey of Jesus: The Calling because its cover photo features Jesus standing triumphant over Diablo in a boxing ring. This isn’t Lightside’s first such game, either, having previous released Journey of Moses on Facebook.

Battleship bombards Lucky Gem Casino — Just in time for its theatrical debut in North America, Hasbro’s board game Battleship is coming to Facebook via EA’s Lucky Gem Casino. The franchise is coming to Lucky Gem Casino as Battleship Jackpot Command, a themed slot machine. This is the second major board game to appear in EA’s virtual casino, as Monopoly debuted in the game last month.

Webkinz now inhabiting Facebook [Launch] — The Popular Webkinz stuffed animals can finally call Facebook home, courtesy of their new social game Webkinz Friends. The game works similar to the original virtual world Webkinz World works. Players register their stuffed toys with the social game (which can also be registered with Webkinz Friends), receive virtual prizes and build up a town for their Kinz to live in.

Texas Hold’Em Poker comes to DoubleDown Casino — Double Down Interactive’s DoubleDown Casino is raising the stakes with its Texas Hold’Em Poker addition. This is the second poker title for DoubleDown Casino, the first being Omaha Poker. The game features four different speeds, a poker tutorial and a “hand-ranking tool” that helps players understand how strong a hand they have.

Facebook games now playable on tablets with TheWorx — Facebook’s mobile app lets people access the network on the go, but it doesn’t let users play social games. VentureBeat reports a new Facebook app, TheWorx,  runs on tablets and converts Flash games to video which is then streamed to the iPad. When the app starts up, users see what looks like a standard Facebook page, but with a tab for apps. This tab allows users to select games they play on Facebook’s normal website and play it on their iPad. TheWorx is expected to launch in June.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers make social gamers walk the plank [Launch] — With football in the off season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are keeping fans engaged with Save Your Mate, a new social game on the team’s official Facebook page. The game has Buccaneer fans play minigames in order to save five of their Facebook friends from being forced to walk a virtual plank. If the player completes the games, they can enter a drawing for real world prizes autographed by the team.

Catharina Mallet leaves EA Playfish — Catherine Mallet, the producer at EA Playfish who was heading up production on an unannounced “triple-A social title” is leaving the company. Mallet was brought into the London studio two years ago, but sources “close to the company” are telling Business Insider that she already has a new job waiting for her.

GREE’s top social game becoming anime series — GREE’s incredibly popular social game Tanken Doliland is being turned into an anime series that will air in Japan. Not much is known about the series right now, but Dr. Serkan Toto reports the show will keep the same name as its source social card battle game and will be based on the world established in the game.

Ubisoft planning to use social features in next-gen consoles — Even though Microsoft and Sony have yet to say anything definite about their next round of consoles, Ubisoft is going on record and promising to take advantage of any social features that will be included. According to Gamasutra, the publisher claims both manufacturers are paying attention to the success of the social games industry and will somehow incorporate features from that field in the next generation of consoles.