Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Viva Pinata Strikes At Last!

Microsoft is finally (officially) launching its attempt at breaking into the kids market, Viva Pinata. From the Joystiq website:
Historically, Xbox has failed to penetrate the Japanese market. Microsoft has also been slow to make Xbox appealing to another important market: kids. But Rare's Viva Pinata looks to change this, becoming Microsoft's first big attempt at reaching out to the younger folk -- heck, it's even got a Saturday morning TV tie-in on Fox.

This weekend, Microsoft is hosting a Viva Pinata party for the entire family, complete with life-size Pinata characters, Viva Pinata dance lessons, a carousel, and of course, gameplay stations. So is the Pinata craze catching on? Does Microsoft have a killer one-two punch for the holidays? That is, Viva Pinata for your kids, Gears of War for yourself?

Read more coverage of Microsoft's big party plans at Gamerscore Blog.
I will be acquiring a copy of the game (which was released in Canada earlier this month) for the Games Lab asap, though my initial feeling about the brand = lame! The thirty-minute commercial, I mean Saturday morning cartoon designed to promote the show, is terrible and although I've heard a lot of buzz around the brand from industry watchers (who wouldn't be interested in Microsoft putting out a direct challenge to Nintendo's domination over the kids?) I haven't heard anything about kids actually getting into the characters...so far. Since the nexus of the Viva Pinata franchise will certainly be the 360 game, we'll have to see how the game does before writing the brand off entirely.

In other news, Microsoft has furthered its use of every old trick in the "targeting-the-kids-market" book, in the form of fast food-themed advergames featuring the Burger King. *Sigh*

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