Bandai Namco popularized digital pet products in the ’90s with its Tamagotchi and Digimon brands, and now Spin Master is giving the category a modern upgrade.
Bitzee is an eight-bit digital pet housed inside a purple clam shell. When the shell is opened, kids can use a full-color touch screen to play games that revolve around feeding their pet, rocking it to sleep and cleaning up after it. Bitzee rolls out to retailers across North America on August 1.
Chris Beardall, Spin Master’s toy president, says the company identified whitespace in the market for a revival of digital pets. And while elements of the classic play pattern like feeding and cleaning remain, the goal with Bitzee was to enable more sophisticated interaction with kids by having the toy respond directly to touch with various sounds and interactions.
As a core mechanic of the product, when Bitzee’s love meter is filled up, it will evolve into one of 15 different characters ranging from common pets like puppies and bunnies, to “Super Bitzees” such as unicorns and mermaid cats. To increase replay value, each of these rare Bitzees that kids collect will unlock a new mini-game and a special outfit for their pet.