The Evolution of Furbies

                              Furby Connect

The Furby became a popular children’s toy in 1998. The creators, Caleb Chung and Dave Hampton, took nine months to invent the gadget before it made the first appearance at the American International Toy Fair. The toy resembles an owl mixed with a hamster. The Furby was the first significant success in creating and marketing a mechanical robot toy. Furbies came with the speaking capabilities of their native language which was Furbish, but over time they were programmed to start speaking English. The amount of time it took them to speak English was meant to mimic how long it takes to learn a new language. Overall their speaking capabilities were translated into twenty-four different languages. Within the first year of being on the shelf, there were over 1.8 million sold. The craze for the adorable robot toy continued for two more years until 2000 when sales slowly started to decline. Overall within the first three years of production over 40 million Furbies were sold. Aside from the classic Furbies, there were other’s that released in the following years. Furby Babies hit the market in 1999. Furby Babies were smaller in size, cannot dance, and have higher pitched voices, however, they begin to speak English at a faster rate. In 2000, Furby Friends featured novel characters as Furbies such as Gizmo from the Gremlins and Yoda from Star Wars.

In 2005 a more advanced Furby was launched called the Emoto-Tronic Furby. This Furby was larger with more emotional facial expressions and voice recognition allowing them to communicate with humans. Introduced in 2006, the Emoto-Tronic Furby Babies appeared to be more babyish and had a lower activity level with a limited vocabulary. Released in the same year, Emoto-Tronic Funky Furbies which were limited to two color combinations of pink and yellow or purple and green could sing and dance and learn new routines.

A Furby debuted in 2012 that came with the capability to connect to an iOS or Android app. This Furby can adapt its personality in response to the user’s behavior. In the years following up to 2015, six more Furbies would join the Furby family.