Two weeks back, I discussed how Microsoft was "maturing" the Xbox 360 Kinect experience by integrating support for the peripheral in an increasing number of new games, including adult-tailored titles such as Forza Motorsport 4. More recently, Microsoft took the broadening aspiration in the other direction, partnering with three other companies to create content targeting kids. From the press release:

Working closely with trusted children’s brands such as Sesame Street, produced by Sesame Workshop, and National Geographic, featuring TV programming from Nat Geo WILD, and leading academics and learning research institutions, Xbox 360 today reveals how its “playful learning” experiences revolutionize interactive television, allowing children and their families to engage, interact and learn in an entirely new way — all through the magic of Kinect for Xbox 360. Microsoft Studios also announced plans to expand its award-winning portfolio of family games through an extended collaboration with Disney and unveiled a new game code-named “Rush.”

Microsoft really did a publicity full-court press on this one, additionally publishing (on the company website) a feature article, a detailed blog post attributed to Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications Frank X. Shaw, and a promotional video which you can see below:

As the blog post points out, the particularly intriguing aspect of these partnerships to me are that they begin to break down the "fourth wall" which has previously existed between the content and audience, historically making television viewing a largely passive experience. Clearly, the material that Microsoft will be producing in partnership with National Geographic and Sesame Street will be television-like. But thanks to Kinect, it'll also have an entertainment (and dare I say, educational) angle that's interactive and game-like, a concept that Microsoft calls "playful learning."

For more perspective on the news, check out the additional coverage links below:


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