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Microsoft's Xbox 360 unveils 'Viva Piñata' in US

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MUMBAI: Microsoft Corp. will celebrate the launch of Viva Piñata on Xbox 360, with a multi-city tour in the US, by presenting children's activities and video game demonstrations at six launch events in New York, Miami and Los Angeles. It will also provide parents with information about online safety and Viva Piñata-related educational programs for children.

The Xbox 360 video game follows the debut of the Viva Piñata Saturday morning animated television series on 4Kids TV Fox, states an official release.

"The Xbox 360 game Viva Piñata inspired us to take the spirit of the game and expand the concept to create learning tools to help kids experience more about their Hispanic heritage in a fun and engaging way," said Microsoft director of Xbox marketing Chris Di Cesare. "One example is a Viva Piñata digital desktop pet piñata that people can download to their computer. Every day the piñata will share new information about Hispanic culture from key holidays to Spanish vocabulary."

Children attending the events can enjoy piñata-making workshops, interactive video game demonstrations and the opportunity to be photographed with the characters from the Viva Piñata animated TV series. A traditional piñata breaking game will also give children an opportunity to win an Xbox 360 and Viva Piñata game.

Viva Piñata, which translates to "long live the piñata," invites gamers of all ages and skill levels to create an immersive world where living piñatas inhabit an ever-changing environment. Beginning with a few basic tools, players build and take control of this environment, using their creativity and imagination to attract, protect, nurture and manage more than 60 piñata species that can visit their world and make it their home.

With the launch of Viva Piñata, Microsoft extends the Xbox 360 brand to younger gamers and more diverse audiences. The tour is one of several Microsoft marketing efforts aimed at attracting more U.S. Hispanic consumers, and acknowledgement of the growing influence of Hispanic culture.

According to a report published by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business, U.S. Hispanics will control more disposable personal income than any other U.S. minority group by 2007. Hispanic consumer spending power is expected to top $863 billion, a 300 percent increase in disposable spending power from 1990, adds the release.

"The video game is one of several initiatives that Microsoft has created in an effort to promote diversity through innovative products," said Microsoft director of Multi-Cultural Marketing José Piñero. "Microsoft's initiative around Viva Piñata is a clear indication of the company's support and interest in the Hispanic community."

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