Microsoft touts family focus with cartoon downloads

Think Nintendo has a stranglehold on the family-friendly console maker moniker? Microsoft would like you to think again. A new press release from the Xbox 360 maker touts the availability today of 100 downloadable cartoons from Warner Bros. and Nickelodeon properties on the Video Marketplace, as well as the impending launch of Shrek and Spongebob-licensed games for Xbox Live Arcade. Add in the recent branding of the new Xbox 360 Arcade as "the console for families" and a Microsoft-sponsored "family fun day" event in Times Square's Toys "R" Us today and you have a major push into the Big N's family-oriented turf.

This isn't the first time Microsoft has tried to extend its reach past the hardcore Halo fans, but in the past innovative family titles like Viva Pinata have had trouble making inroads against big-name hardcore games like Gears of War. Will this latest push broaden Microsoft's image or is the 360 destined to be known primarily (and inaccurately) as a first-person shooter system. Leave your thoughts in the comments.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.