Video game giants typically shine at the E3 summit. New games and innovations are announced. Diehard gamers crack their knuckles, while others drool. So maybe it was a surprise to see a family entertainment giant come up big at E3 last night. Then again, maybe not.
Disney Interactive Studios -- the interactive entertainment arm of Disney
Yes, the DS has supported this for years. The difference here is that the online community will be managed through the recently remodeled Disney.com. DGamer, which will be a free feature on Disney's DS software releases, will allow members to share high scores, swap virtual accessories, and vote in polls.
Creating their own avatar, gamers will find that the social network has traces of the free Virtual Magic Kingdom game that Disney launched two summers ago. VMK players stroll through chat areas with parental controls, engaging in online games, and collecting virtual badges along the way.
DGamer will make the most of the dual-screen DS platform, with its scribbling stylus as an artistic accessory. The requirement to be within a Wi-Fi signal may prove restrictive for a system that is made for lugging around, but Disney is willing to give it a shot. There is too much to gain if the online community is successful. Disney's slicker -- and stickier -- Disney.com hub is on a roll these days. The site attracted 20 million unique visitors back in May, according to Web trend tracker Media Metrix.
Disney made a commitment to Nintendo last year when it decided to play a bigger role in putting out Disney-branded games. Yes, companies like THQ
Disney is a natural for Nintendo and its talent for skewing toward younger audiences. The Disney-Pixar brands even combined to be the top-selling third-party software for the DS platform last year.
So let's see what DGamer can do to improve a Disney brand that seems to get even more relevant to the country's youth with every passing Disney Channel and box office winner.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz enjoys taking his family to amusement parks of all sizes, all over the country -- including Disney World -- several times a year. He owns shares in Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.