Saturday, July 2, 2016

Tamagotchi m!x Coming in July

Top row: Melody m!x. Bottom row: Spacy m!x.
Back in early April Bandai Japan filed a trademark for Tamagotchi m!x (pronounced "mix"), which was picked up on by an automated trademark bot on Twitter, and quickly spread among hardcore Tamagotchi fans. Official announcements of the new toyline followed in May and June. The Tamagotchi m!x virtual pet will launch on July 16th, 2016, in three colors and two variations, "Melody m!x" and "Spacy m!x."

The main feature of the m!x is that when two Tamagotchi get married, the resulting offspring now inherits the visual traits of its parents. The offspring resembles a fusion of its parents, not unlike the latest Digimon's App Fusions. Tamagotchi characters on the m!x can inherit traits from their parents from as far back as 20 generations, resulting in many unique combinations of characters with different visual traits. Unlike in the case of Digimon, the overall reception to "combining" characters by fans has been positive--but this feature is also not old hat to them.

A m!x family tree. The Papa and Mama characters on top and bottom m!x to create the next character in the sequence.
According to a Bandai press release on the m!x, it incorporates a 128x128 color dot matrix screen, 32 bit RISC microcomputer for its CPU, and is targeted at elementary school girls. (Like Digimon's Appli Drive, the toy is listed as suitable for ages 6 and up.) Mysteriously, Bandai opted not to assign an MSRP to the new product. The m!x is instead being sold at an "open price," meaning the price is being left up to the individual retailers. This may be in reaction to the lukewarm reception of the Tamagotchi 4U and 4U+, which had an MSRP of 5980 yen at launch.

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On eBay, web shops have listed listed the Melody m!x and the Spacy m!x at no lower than $69.66, with some going as high as $83.46. Accounting for the increased shipping cost and proxy markup, the Tamas are probably being acquired from retailers for 4500~6000 yen depending on the location.

Bandai is promoting the m!x via a crossover with the LINE messaging app, making Tamagotchi-themed stickers available to LINE users. (Eagle-eyed Digimon fans will note two Oyajitchi stickers--the Tamagotchi secret character who's the basis for our own Nanimon.)

Traditionally Digimon and Tamagotchi have made up a brother-and-sister pair for Bandai, targeting different genders within the same demographic group since 1997. While Tamagotchi sparked the initial boom, from '98 until 2003 Digimon was the more table of the two properties--until a string of Digimon-related financial crises forced Bandai and Toei to downscale operations, restricting Digimon to just its trading card and virtual pet properties. In 2004 Tamagotchi revitalized under the Connection brand, and has remained one of Bandai's most consistent properties ever since, while Digimon has been something of a problem child for the company up to the present day.

Recent problems with the Tamagotchi 4U and 4U+ toys underperforming compared to projected sales may have reversed this relationship once more, as the six-years-running Tamagotchi anime was abruptly canceled in 2015. The 4U was poorly received by the public due to its over-reliance on NFC, and lack of past models' features--among them infrared communication and built-in content, as the device needed to be used with real-world download points for its NFC features. The m!x is designed as a return to form, reintroducing the infrared popularized by the Connection.

The m!x will have its own set of dedicated Tamagotchi stations in toy stores, like the 4U before it. However, the NFC support seems to have been dropped. The first commercial for the m!x is currently available on Twitter.

9 comments:

  1. so you're saying that appmon's app gattai reception was bad towards fans instead? Or maybe you're mentioning the whole "combining" concept from digimon such like jogress, digixros? Or just digixros that was bad received by fans?

    If it's appmon that you mentioned, then I wonder if it's just english-speaking fans that were disappointed or japanese fans felt the same too? AFAIK many Japanese fans are okay and excited to see appmon

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    1. As a whole, App Fusion and DigiXros have not been received positively. I have only seen one instance of App Fusion being praised outright. The prevailing attitude in the Japanese fanbase seems to be neutrality or indifference to the idea of App Fusing. (A probable reason being heavier exposure to Jogress via more media. What we've seen so far amounts to a renamed version of an old mechanic.)

      Among the English-speaking fanbase there's a lot of negativity and accusations of being "DigiXros again." Jogress and DigiXros are both disliked for their association with 02 and Xros Wars on our side, and there's a very vocal section of the fandom that insists anything that isn't traditional evolution is a mistake.

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    2. hmmm I didn't remember Jogress was disliked that much by english fanbase. I only remember that what ppl didn't like the most from Xros Wars was its Digixros system and each digimon has no apparent level or real evolution (even though was introduced later).

      On the other hand, I don't think tamagotchi's english fanbase still exist in present day. Or maybe the positive reception was mainly by Japanese fanbase instead?

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    3. Tamagotchi still has a hardcore fanbase, on sites like TamaTalk, Gotchi Garden, and general virtual pet forums. It's much more fragmented than the Digimon fanbase. The Japanese fanbase is similarly spread out, mainly on Twitter.

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    4. So you meant that they have more solid community than digimon but they aren't usually seen on internet?

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    5. Yeah I also don't remember that much push back against Jogress at the time. Kind of wish Megchan's old forum was still around it'd be interesting to be able to look back at what was being said in those early days, rather then having to rely on vague memories. Still I do also recall it being seen as secondary to 'proper' evolution. Part of it is probably not just people's... dissatisfaction with 02, but also we don't have as much a pop culture grounding for the idea of combining to get stronger in the US were in Japan combing mecha is more prevalent. There’s also I think a small amount of perhaps subconscious uncomfortable feelings around “what happens if two Digimon permanently Jogress? Are the two martial Digimon just gone, completely consumed in the making a single new individual from both of them?”

      Which also is why when they want even more like combing mecha with Xros Wars it got even more push back in the western fandom. I personally found among those who were into mecha they had far less of a problem with Xros Wars and the combining style evolution. Well fans that had no internist in mecha found it off putting, because well they didn't like mecha, so didn't want it in there monster show.

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  2. till now WTF still no color screen for digimon vpet....while tamagotchi already far ahead...

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  3. plus this year... we dont get digimon world next order localization... most hated gameplay on western localization i guess...

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    1. I guess it can be several reasons:

      1. adjusting the bug fixing, remember that Ne0 was patched many times due to bug fixing. They can't just released the game v 1.0 with so much bugs
      2. it's not well received in Japan, maybe they're still confused whether to bring it or not
      3. Decode vs Ne0, which one they want to bring first, or which one they wanna dump. Maybe still being confused
      4. Licensed song by Eir Aoi. Maybe this isn't thay big issue as SAO games can easily use her songs in the eng ver.

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