Microsoft has got a new marketing ploy to appeal to the kids market, and it's called Viva Pinata.
Viva Pinata is a world of fun animal characters that you will soon see hit the Xbox 360, Saturday morning TV channels and lunchboxes and school bags everywhere.
The world is populated with 'amusing' characters like Fergie Fudgehog and Franklin Fizzlybear. Microsoft said that it wanted the game to appeal beyond the core gaming audience that other games, like Halo and Project Gotham, appeal to.
Critics might point out that this looks rather similar to what Nintendo did with Pokemon, and that Viva Pinata appears to be a similar atempt to create a pervasive cash-in brand. Pokemon started out as a Nintendo concept and was soon rolled out across consoles, Japanese TV shows, lunchboxes, playing cards, soft toys, backpacks, and anything else that had enough room for a picture of an annoying little yellow thing.
On the upside, at least if it's on the Xbox 360, kids will be getting high resolution, anti-aliased, high dynamic range little stupid pinata animals.
So, if you value your sanity, you'll keep your kids well away from this ploy. Head over to the forums
and sign our pact of solidarity in the face of annoying catchphrases and stupid cartoon animals.