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IMDb Gets Into the Game Business With Free Mobile App

IMDB App Screenshots Split - H 2011

The Internet Movie Database seeks to double its mobile presence with "IMDb Trivia," a free iPhone and iPod touch app available from iTunes.

Beginning Tuesday, IMDb is offering its first game ever, IMDb Trivia, a free iPhone and iPod touch app available from iTunes.

"We get over 100 million page views on our trivia pages each year," IMDb founder and CEO Col Needham tells The Hollywood Reporter as he unveils the game app. "Customers spend more than 4 million hours a year on IMDb trivia."

Now they can whip out their mobiles and play IMDb's games, then brag about their scores on Facebook and the Apple Game Center.

But much of IMDb's trivia is contributed by its millions of users, and not all of the items are as good as the editor-created news items on IMDb.

"What the trivia game does is take the fun ones and interesting ones and present them in a very addictive, fun, small package," says IMDb head of mobile Kintan Brahmbhatt.

If the first games (Hollywood Hits, Sneak Peek, TV Favorites, Family Movies and Blockbuster Films) pall, you can buy more for 99 cents. About 15 million IMDb apps have been installed on Apple mobiles, and more than 10 million on Android.

Needham's one regret is that he didn't have a handheld device to rely on the day he was called in to meet Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who is notorious for testing new hires with unsettling questions (such as, "How many windows are there in Seattle?").

"You have no idea what it's like to be a newly acquired company in front of the parent company and people are firing random trivia questions at you, and you have to get them right," says Needham. "Game play is very suited for helping the brain remember things. It makes you feel smarter about entertainment. So we're here to make everybody able to answer trivia questions."

Needham vows to double IMDb's app starts in 2011, and has one more ambition. "I'm hoping to preserve my high score on the Sneak Peek pack."