Revolutionize family night with the newest technology

The concept of reserving one night periodically for a family night is one that goes back generations, whether playing different card games, watching a movie, board games or games that only require creativity, like charades. While those activities are still household staples, family night now involves technology as much as it does creativity – and finding new and innovative ways to keep everyone entertained are a must.

While some may scoff at the idea of technology as a useful tool in family night, a recent study by Trinity University concluded that technology can actually enhance family togetherness by promoting teamwork and learning through a shared game experience. The survey of more than 30,000 players of an online game found that many families – children, parents and grandparents – are brought closer together by playing the game, and children learn reading, math, goal-setting and teamwork.

Technology takes family game night to new heights with the newest wave of video games that don’t take place merely sitting on the couch with a controller in hand. New advances in motion-based technology, like PlayStation Move for PlayStation 3, offer an experience that gets people moving together and interacting with one another in both collaborative and competitive ways.

Here are three new games and a selection of networked services to make that family gathering one that people won’t want to leave:

* Everybody Dance

With a party mode that allows up to 20 players to compete in head-to-head dance competitions, dancers can try out one of the 40 dance tracks with their original music videos. Using the PlayStation Eye camera, performances can be captured, played back and links can then be sent to players’ Facebook and Twitter accounts. Using the camera to create a profile for every user, the win-loss records are tracked, keeping the competition going every time they come over for a visit.

* Carnival Island

While the nostalgia of carnival games like ring toss and mini bowling may be lost on the kids, introduce them to childhood favorite games with Carnival Island. This family-friendly game offers 35 classic carnival games and attractions to play with the PlayStation Move motion controller, so players can actually feel like they’re tossing a ring around a soda bottle – not just pushing the buttons on a controller.

* EyePet & Friends

For the younger children in the family, EyePet & Friends is a fun and accessible game for families and friends to play together. For the first time, two players will be able to play simultaneously with two EyePets, using two controllers in one augmented reality. Players can connect to the all new online community portal to review friends’ EyePet profiles, take part in events and competitions, and view and share content – all in a child-friendly environment.

* PlayStation Network

Game consoles now provide even more services than ever before that will surely amp up any family night. PlayStation Network is the online entertainment hub for all PlayStation platforms and is the premier destinations for games, TV and movies, sports and music. No need to leave the house to rent a family film anymore. PlayStation Network delivers instant access to streaming content, including movies from Netflix, CinemaNow and VUDU, TV shows through Hulu Plus, music via Music Unlimited and live sports with MLB.TV, NFL Sunday Ticket and NHL GameCenter Live. The variety of services on PSN will make everyone in the family happy.

Having a great night with the entire family doesn’t mean being tethered to the table with board games, and introducing video games and networked services doesn’t mean everyone has to be stuck on the couch. With the right technology, family game night can become something that everyone looks forward to.