This is actually the third time Tamagotchi will enter the toy market, and it is very much back by popular demand according to Bandai’s Darrell Jones: “Retailers are very excited, and it is actually down to their calls for Tamagotchi to return that it’s back. During its second release between 2004 and 2009, Tamagotchi was one of the strongest-selling products in the toy market. Everything has its time again, and next year is Tamagotchi’s.”
The styling of the units has been brought up-to-date, with six new designs featuring animal prints and sparkles, in line with current fashion trends. Power is also no longer provided by watch-sized batteries but by AAA batteries, which offer increased play time and easier replacement. The screen has undergone improvement with the two-shade black and white screen of old being upgraded to a four-shade black and white screen allowing for improved detail in the new characters.
Darrel commented: “Alongside a lot of the original play patterns, such as nurturing, caring for a pet, carrying it in your pocket, there are a lot of new features, including five new games. The most notable new feature, however, is that each Tamagotchi will utilise near field communication (NFC), similar to the technology found in mobile phones, allowing two units to be placed back-to-back, or ‘bump’, and interact with each other. The owners can then visit a friend’s pet, exchange items, send text messages to each other, and even earn Gotchi points. It allows for a massively increased level of interaction, and another pattern of play.”
The new Tamagotchi will be available in the shops from Boxing Day at £24.99 (RRP). TV advertising will also begin on Boxing Day, and a brand new, immersive website goes online on the 23rd November. Bandai will be mounting a multi-platform marketing programme featuring TV advertising social media, consumer PR, and retail support including striking, specially-designed FSDU promoting the new Tamagotchi Friends brand.
News story written by Tom Roberts.
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