If you can't beat 'em...

So it has finally happened and the toy industry has taken the video games shilling.
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The Entertainer's decision to stock Nintendo's Wii and DS hadware and software may yet turn out to be a short-lived dalliance, or the catalyst for something bigger. It matters not.

The reaction to the news that we've had so far was not quite the vitriolic dispproval of a betrayal of traditional toy industry values that you might have expected. Far from it.

It seems that some indies were only wondering why it was that they hadn't been the ones to take the plunge with the console system. Some, having a difficult time of it, have wondered aloud if it might be just the thing to help them through a dip in toy sales.

The UK games market is worth around £1.4bn and has just had its biggest year ever. Clearly, it has never needed toy outlets to build its business, so the toy market's abstention is not going to make the toy market disappear either.

Many people know I used to edit the trade paper for the video games market. But this is not a rallying cry for games consoles. PS3 and Xbox 360 are really not right for the toy market anyway, being aimed more at adults.

It's about toy retailers having the vision to look beyond their traditional supply channel, be that in the gift sector, greetings cards, confectionary, collectables, furnishings and, yes, video games.

Significantly, the Wii competes in the same arena as board games. It is the first console to truly offer a social experience that can be played by all ages, which might make it just right for the toy market.

The Entertainer should be congratulated for having the vision to at least try something different.

Sales of 2m consoles are difficult to ignore.



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