Nick and Disney spice up on-line offerings
Nickelodeon is jazzing up the interactive component of nick.com for its 10-million-plus monthly visitors. The New Game of the Week feature, which launched last month, introduces an original flash-powered game to the site every Friday. Games are based on popular Nickelodeon properties, such as Jimmy Neutron, Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants. New message boards have been set up for player discussions and the website will post the ‘Nick names’ of the highest scorers for at least the rest of the year.
Meanwhile, Disney is also beefing-up its broadband presence with the launch of Playhouse Disney Preschool Time Online. Parents can plunk down US$49.95 a subscription to the ad-free service hosted by Bear from Bear in the Big Blue House. Content gets refreshed every two weeks and preschoolers can select from a variety of interactive activities designed to foster preschool learning and development.
Video game retail sales hit an all-time high in ’05
2005 was a record-breaking year for video games at U.S. retail. According to Port Washington, New York-based The NPD Group, sales of video game hardware, software and accessories totaled US$10.5 billion last year, surpassing the previous record of US$10.3 billion, set in 2002. Hot sellers in the portable games category such as Nintendo DS (unit sales hit the 13-million mark last month), Game Boy Advance and Sony PSP helped boost the annual take and the sub category alone generated US$1.4 billion in sales. However, a recent report published by Wedbush Morgan Securities predicts 2006 will be a much bleaker year for video game sales. Current-generation console sales hit a slump at the end of ’05 and the report states that trend is expected to continue well into this year.