Furby, designed and made in the United States of America by Tiger electronics, is an electronic robot released in the market in 1998. It looks like an owl and it became a favorite toy for many kids and adults as well immediately it was released into the market. Its sales were on the higher side till the year 2000 with over 40 million sales over the first three years since its launch. In 1998, 1.8 million furbies were sold and over 14 million in the year 1999. It has the ability to speak whose translations have been done for 24 languages.
It was the first successful attempt to manufacture and market a robot designed for the home setting. All of them initially speak Furbish but with time they acquire other languages that the user wants them to. This process through which it acquires English words and phrases resembles a person learning English. Between 2005 and 2007, there were major developments of the furby where it was able to remember voices and perform difficult facial gestures; it was called the Emoto-Tronic Furby. In 2012, there were more developments where the furby had LCD eyes as well as a mobile application.
The first creation
Caleb Chung and Dave Hampton, the creators of the furby, designed the toy for nine months and took nine more months making the first one. They attempted twice to get a license for it but to no avail. This is when they sort help from Richard C. Levy, another toys and game genius and on who was in the business for long and had the necessary connections, which helped them get into a partnership with Tiger electronics. It was then that Roger Shiffman from Tiger electronics bought the rights to furby who then made it possible for furby to make its first appearance in public at the American international toy fair. This was in 1998.
It initially went for US$35 and business was good. It would get even better in 1998 during Christmas where a piece would go for more than $100 and in some stores it would even be more, double or triple in some cases. Its price would even be higher in print media and at actioners’ stores. It was assigned several names depending on who and where and at times got intermittence values. Some of the most common nicknames were wedding furby, tuxedo furby, snowball furby and biker furby among others. In the first few years after it was released, it was very rare in the market but this changed as time went by. Due to their great demand, many people were scammed a lot of money just to try and get one for themselves. Parents had a hard time as they tried to make a purchase with quarrels and disappointments arising from them same with their children and other parents too. There was massive use of the internet markets in a bid to buy one. The few retailers who had them hiked their prices taking advantage of their scarcity and high demand. There was a time 27 million pieces were sold within a period of 12 months consistently, the highest recorded to date.
In 2005, it was reintroduced, bigger and better and with better features into the market under the name Emoto-Tronic furby.
In April 12, 2012, an announcement came through that Hasbro would be releasing a new brand of furbys. This came to reality in September the same year. At first it was in just one color, but upgraded to 16 others in December the same year. These colors were white, teal, black, tangerine-tango, purple, yellow, navy blue, aqua, plum, pink/teal, pink, orange/blue, blue/yellow, black/pink, gray/teal and teal/purple. Furbys were one of the most favorite toys by 2013 December as noted and announced by Toy Retailers Association at the DreamToys Convention. It was at this convention that they also predicted which would be the most favored toys in the coming holidays.