Toy craze hamsters migrate to Nintendo DS

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The Independent Tech

Video game publisher Activision have leaped on the latest toy craze, Zhu Zhu Pets (also known as Go Go Hamsters), and signed up with the robotic rodents' manufacturers to push out a Nintendo DS game for early 2010 based on what, for some children, has become the playground essential of the year.

Fresh from raking in the proceeds of the fastest-selling, violent, controversial video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and re-packaging the successful Guitar Hero franchise into a more teen girl friendly package with Band Hero, Zhu Zhu Pets offers the publisher access to another profitable market: pre-teen girls.

Minnesota-based GameMill Entertainment have been tasked with readying the DS game for early 2010, and should be up to the task of digitizing the inquisitive animals. Five of the 19 games churned out since GameMill's formation in 2001 feature pet care in some way, such as Pony Luv, Kitty Luv, Puppy Luv and Hollywood Pets. More recently they gained relevant experience working in partnership with other industries, having developed a titles for Dairy Queen.

Having had the toy pets nominated twice for the Toy Association's 2010 Toy Of The Year and appearing in the British Toy Retailers Association's list of top Christmas toys, manufacturer Cepia are taking full advantage of their current position by getting their new furry friends onto the Nintendo DS handheld console as soon as possible.

The DS is a perfect platform for maximizing Cepia's first foray into videogames, as its worldwide sales of 108million make it the most popular current generation console. According to current industry estimates, the Nintendo Wii has sold just over 56m, the Xbox 360 33m, PlayStation 3 27m, and the PSP 55m units.

Given Activision's penchant for cash-generating serials, Zhu Zhu Pets on DS is unlikely to be the last appearance the cute furballs make on any videogame platform in the coming months.

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