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06 June 2011
Video game company THQ plans to bring its uDraw gaming tablet to the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 later this year, hoping that player appetites for new experiences extend beyond motion controls to painting, drawing and Pictionary. THQ Inc said that the uDraw GameTablet will be available for the two consoles over the holidays. There's a Wii version out already for $70, but THQ is not saying how much the new, high-definition versions will cost.
THQ is best known for wrestling video games and SpongeBob and other licensed titles for kids. But the company has been trying to expand its offerings — the tablet is one such effort. THQ says it has sold 1.7 million of the Wii uDraw tablets since November, more than it had expected though still small compared with the more than 86 million Wiis that have been sold since Nintendo launched the console in 2006.
Though the tablet is aimed at gamers of all ages, the main audience for the Wii uDraw is children. That version is white and has a chunky design reminiscent of Fisher-Price toys. In contrast, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation uDraw tablets are black, sleek and don't require players to attach their game controller to the devices to use them.
Rather, the controllers' buttons are replicated on the tablet itself. In addition, the new uDraw has a touch-screen users can control by pinching with two fingers, something the Wii version does not offer.
The new uDraw comes bundled with "uDraw Studio: Instant Artist," a game that lets players paint and doodle using an attached stylus or their fingers, follow tutorials and play games. They can then share their creations online, including on Facebook. Other games use the tablet as a controller by tilting it to move characters on their TV screen.
"Things like drawing and creativity and new patterns of gameplay are ubiquitous," said THQ CEO Brian Farrell. "If you take a step back and look at Kinect and move (motion-controllers from Microsoft and Sony), they are all about new experiences."
UDraw isn't THQ's first step with video game art. In 2007 it launched "Drawn to Life" for the handheld Nintendo DS that had players draw things that then got installed in the game. Farrell said that game sold more than 1 million units.
THQ, which is based in Agoura Hills, California, plans to display the new uDraw tablet at the Electronic Entertainment Expo video game conference in Los Angeles next week.

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