- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 17, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - Video game publisher THQ Inc. hopes to draw in artistically inclined fans when its uDraw GameTablet is available for the Wii this year.

The $70 add-on accessory to Nintendo Co.’s popular game console is aimed mainly at 6- to 12-year-olds. Players will be able to make drawing and sketches, or play games such as “Pictionary.”

Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter said he’s surprised Nintendo didn’t come out with one on its own. With no marketing, he believes THQ will be able to sell at least 1 million tablets. But if the company can convince customers _ starting with the kids, then their parents _ that they need the tablet, this number could be much higher.

The GameTablet is 9 inches wide and 7 inches long. To use it, you pop in the Wii’s controller, which also powers the gadget, and use an attached stylus pen to create pictures or play games.

The tablet will come packaged with an art-based game, “uDraw Studio,” when it goes on sale ahead of the holidays. “Pictionary” and another game, “Dood’s Big Adventure,” will be sold separately for $30 each.

Wayne Cline, project manager of uDraw, said inspiration for the game came from THQ’s doodle game “Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter,” as well as from the Wacom tablets that professional artists and designers use to create computer images.

Cline said that drawing with the Wii remote isn’t easy, as it can be hard to hold your hand steady while pointing the controller at the TV screen. The tablet and stylus take care of that.

“UDraw Studio” will come with tutorials, as well as on-screen coloring pages and stamps, Cline said, so players don’t have to be amazing artists to use it. As with professional drawing tablets, uDraw users keep their eyes on their TV screens while drawing on the tablet’s blank screen.

“We’ve found it very intuitive and users quickly learn they can look at the screen and not have to glance down at the GameTablet,” Cline said.

The tablet will let players save their finished artwork on a standard SD storage card so they can move their masterpieces to a computer.

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