Will casual computer and video games kill board games?

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A couple years ago, it would have been hard to convince me that video games and computer games were impacting the sales of more traditional board games. At the time, video games were being targeted at young men and were, with few exceptions too arcane, complex, or violent to appeal to more casual gamers.

Now it's very different. The Nintendo Wii has reached demographics that the industry hasn't targeted in more than 20 years, and games are more fun and require less tech-savvy than ever. The casual gamer is back -- and you have to wonder if board games are suffering for it. Now, the Wii is a huge hit in nursing homes across the country.The most clear showdown between internet gaming and board games is the case of Hasbro vs. Scrabulous -- a hugely popular Scrabble knock-off available on Facebook -- The New York Times is calling it the "latest bane of office productivity."

Hasbro -- which owns the Scrabble brand -- has threatened the Calcutta-based brothers behind the game with legal action related to copyright infringement. Given Scrabulous' popularity -- it generates more than $25 thousand per month in ad revenue -- the obvious solution is for Scrabble to make it the official games and split the revenue.

But if casuall gaming is the death knell of the board game, I think that's something worth moaning. Yes, families can have fun together with Wii but it would be nice for kids to get the idea that you can, once in while, have fun without being plugged into anything. Online games are great but don't let them replace board games.
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