Technology

Tamagotchi: The virtual pet toy is back – price and release date

In 1997, Tamagotchi mingled the European toy market. Now, the first virtual pet will be celebrating its big comeback!

Hardly any child in 1990s could pass on the opportunity to get his or her hands on a Tamagotchi. This toy from Japan captured the hearts of children and young/adults in a big fire storm. In the revolutionary idea, buyers/players receive a virtual pet, which must be fed, cleaned, and taken care of – round the clock! Anyone who did not pay attention to his/her digital protege was punished with the death of the pet toy. This was an iconic idea. Although, the Tamagotchi principle is now old and it has been copied countless times, manufacturer Namco Bandai is now bringing back the cultivating pets back into trade.

New edition for the anniversary
On the special occasion of its 20th anniversary, the manufacturer will release a new gadget edition. Its price is rumored to be around $20. For your money, you will get a Tamagotchi, which is technically and optically not different from the original, but its size was significantly changed. Most probably, only die-hard fans will be interested in purchasing these new virtual pets. After all, there are similar games/apps available for the smartphone, so why could the new generation want to buy something new? These games/apps usually look not only more attractive, but they also cost significantly less.

Live with a digital pet
20 years ago, the pet craze came to the market. It was the time of Gameboy, the good old Discman, and in front of Nokia 3310. The Tamagotchis sold 80 million units worldwide. The toy comes originally from Japan; Tamago means egg. The idea for the Tamagotchis was the then 30-year-old Aki Maita, an employee of the toy manufacturer Bandai. Many children want pets, she explained, but this is hardly feasible in narrow city dwellings. That’s why they replaced a traditional pet with a plastic one. On a tiny display, owners had to feed the animal, play with it, or clear away piles – a pet experience in a full loaded package. If someone did not feed his animal, he/she then had a sick and then a dead Tamagotchi – the game was over for them. All in all, therefore a cheap and animal friendly alternative to the real pet – without costs for doctors and to actually feed a real animal.

Play game of the 90s
The first test persons for this toy were about 200 girls in the Shibuya district in Tokyo. “They immediately got bright surprising eyes,” recalls Maita. The sales figures reflected the enthusiasm; just a few months after the sales started in Japan in November 1996 the Tamagotchi came out in more than 24 countries. In 1997 the digital pet also moved to Europe and became the cult game of the 90s!

Today there are apps
Always stay focused on the virtual animal, otherwise it could die; this was the motto of many children. In some schools, these toys were forbidden, as in USA. But then the trend slowly vanished; successive models with a color display or extended functions never achieved the same status as the original version. Smartphones were the final nail in the coffin.
So now the question is whether the new revived version of this virtual will succeed or will it fail to attract customers?

About the author

Adil Khan

Adil Khan

Adil Khan is a 30 years old Nerd who has been playing with his toys, computers and electronics, since the late 90's. His passion lies in the digital world of 1's and 0's i.e. until quantum computers are available for purchase :)

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