As Bandai gears up for the third wave of its popular virtual pet Tamagotchi Connection, the focus will be on building the characters behind the toy through a new on-line world. TamaTown.com will not only bring a new play pattern and level of interactivity to the toy, it will also help to solidify the characters in kids’ imaginations, setting the stage for Bandai’s planned licensing program, which will launch later this year.
After entering TamaTown, kids can use the passwords and points they received from playing with their handheld Tamagotchis to partake in various online activities, such as shopping, watching a movie in the theater, playing games in the arcade, eating in the food court, or even meeting the parents and grandparents of their virtual pet. And the exchange of points and passwords works both ways. For example, after giving Gotchi points to the Tamagotchi King online, a password allows kids to visit his castle where they can then pick up new passwords to unlock souvenirs in the Tamagotchi egg itself. Additional passwords will be promoted on-pack as well as via advertising and in-store marketing.
The website goes live at the end of January, just before the version-three eggs hit shelves at an SRP of US$14.99. Bandai is also looking at building in community features later this year that would allow kids to interact with each other on the site.
Tamagotchi V3.0 includes four new games and 20 brand new characters, bringing the total up to 52. Kids can also connect their pets with others via infrared technology so their pets can play games, share gifts and become friends. Once the virtual pet grows up, it can even hook up with a friend to create a brand new second-generation character.
Bandai signed on United Media to handle the licensing program for Tamagotchi’s characters, and will announce its first licensees early this year. United is still on the lookout for publishing, room décor, and health and beauty licensees as well as promotions partners to deliver product in Q3 and Q4.