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Japan's Bandai to sell hot 'virtual pet' overseas

Reuters Business Report, 02-04-1997.

TOKYO (Reuter) - Japanese toymaker Bandai Co.Ltd said Tuesday its hit product "tamagocchi," an electronic bird creature the size of an egg, is to make its debut overseas.
A Bandai official said the company decided to start offering the " virtual pet" in Europe this spring and in the United States and Asia at around the same time.
Tamagocchi has become the latest craze in Japan, selling out everywhere and hawked on the street for more than 20 times its retail price of 1,980 yen ($16).
The digital pet can be fed and stroked and "goes to the bathroom" -- in an electronic sense -- just like a live pet. It will "die" if neglected.
Psychologists have said the pocket-sized creature fills an emotional void in modern Japan's urban society by allowing its owners to smother it with affection.
The toymaker is still mulling whether it should modify the exsisting model for overseas markets, the official said. He added that the specific timing for the sales is undecided.
Bandai last month said it will merge with game giant Sega Enterprises Ltd on Oct. 1.
Copyright 1997 Reuters Ltd. All rights reserved.

K-B Toys Announces U.S. Sales of Tamagotchi to Begin May 1

25 April 1997
Tamagotchi to be available May 1, 1997 at selected K-B Toys locations in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Hawaii and Washington State. Also available at selected K-B Toy Works locations in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. The coverage will be expanding during May. Check their website for details.

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