E3 2011: Microsoft angles for toddlers

Young kids were a big focus at this year's Microsoft E3 presser, thanks to several exclusive Kinect titles.

Sesame Street on the Kinect: parent-child gaming?
Sesame Street on the Kinect: parent-child gaming? Sarah Tew/CNET

LOS ANGELES--Kids and games. When Tim Schafer of Double Fine stepped onstage to demo his Sesame Street-branded Kinect game today, he explained how he had his 3-year-old daughter in mind when he developed the idea.

Sesame Street, Disneyland, and more: It looks like younger and younger kids are being targeted for gaming. Both Disneyland Adventures and Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster are Microsoft exclusives for the Kinect. Add in Kinect Fun Labs, a series of interactive toys and camera-based art apps on a single disc, and you have a clear-cut strategy for attracting the toddler crowd.

Call it the iPad Effect, or whatever you'd like, but the hands-free gaming that Kinect represents looks like Microsoft's new fertile ground for the youngest gaming set. The question is, will parents want their kids to play?

Related links
• E3 2011: The Microsoft exclusives
• Xbox gets Live TV, more ways to use Kinect
• Full coverage of E3

Disneyland Adventures, a Microsoft exclusive, will feature a virtual tour around Disneyland, along with minigames set inside the various worlds. The onstage demo at E3 2011 featured young kids waving their arms and playing along.

The same tactic was employed with Double Fine's Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster, which looks intended more to be a parent-and-child experience. Standing side-by-side, Elmo and Cookie Monster waved their arms and posed in various ways across from a large Muppety monster.

I'm a dad, and while I think my son would love the Sesame Street game (if for no other reason than the fact that it features Elmo), I'm not ready to have him play console video games. Clearly, that's not the attitude of the video game industry.

Where do you fall? Do you have any problems letting your 3-year-old play games?

 

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