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Tamagotchi "Connects" Fans From Coast-To-Coast At Its U.S. Debut

Bandai: Jay Cochran - 2004.09.13

Singer/Songwriter Ryan Cabrera and "Gilmore Girls" Star Jared Padalecki Celebrate the First Available Tamagotchi Connection at New York’s Toys "R" Us Times Square and San Francisco's Sony Metreon

Consumers lined up to be the first in the United States to purchase the highly anticipated Tamagotchi Connection. The next generation original virtual pet, Tamagotchi Connection, made its U.S. debut on both coastlines during two launch events in New York and San Francisco. Already a huge success overseas, more than one million virtual pets have been sold in Japan alone in the first five months of its release. To meet consumer demand in the U.S., fans were invited to Toys “R” Us Times Square in New York and to Metreon – A Sony Entertainment Center in San Francisco to purchase the first products five days before they are available nationwide. Bandai America Incorporated officially confirmed the return of the newest virtual pet in June 2004 to much consumer excitement.

The Tamagotchi Connection Volkswagen New Beetle Brigade escorted teen celebrities singer/songwriter Ryan Cabrera (debut album Take It All Away on Atlantic Recordings featuring the hit single “On The Way Down”) to Toys “R” Us Times Square and “New York Minute” and “Gilmore Girls” star Jared Padalecki to Sony Metreon to carry in the very first batches of Tamagotchi Connection. Fans and consumers of all ages waited in lines at both retail store locations to purchase the new product and receive autographed pictures of Ryan Cabrera and Jared Padalecki. Fans were also treated to special Tamagotchi Connection giveways.

“It has been tremendously exciting to see fans, consumers and retailers so anxious for the return of America’s favorite virtual pet,” said Bill Beebe, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Bandai America. “The theme of today’s launch events is about making connections – from coast-to-coast with new friends and old – which is what the next generation Tamagotchi Connection is all about.”

The egg-shaped toy simulates the life cycle of a pet, letting kids experience the fun and responsibility of feeding, tending to and caring for their virtual pet. The advanced Tamagotchi Connection features new infrared communication functions. Infrared technology allows Tamagotchi Connection owners to “connect” with others and play games, give gifts and become friends with other Tamagotchi owners and store a “friend list” of up to 50 friends. Once an adult, the Tamagotchi can connect with a compatible Tamagotchi friend and have a second-generation Tamagotchi that the owner can care for and nurture into an adult to create more generations to come.

With a larger display and better graphics than the original version, Tamagotchi Connection owners can care for their pet by selecting various controls to feed it food or a snack, play games with it, clean up after its messes and give it medicine when it becomes sick. The new Tamagotchi Connection will be available at retailers nationwide on August 15, 2004 at a suggested retail price of $14.99.

“Taking virtual pets to a whole new level, Tamagotchi Connection’s interactivity function and infrared communications ability tap into the play patterns of today’s kids, who utilize the Web, instant messaging, cell phone, pagers and other hi-tech products to stay connected with friends,” said Tom Conley, president of the toy trade group Toy Industry Association, Inc.

Tamagotchi Goes Online

For fans looking for more fun with Tamagotchi Connection, Bandai America has launched an official Web site: www.tamagotchi.com and www.tamagotchiconnection.com. The Tamagotchi Connection Web site is a place where virtual pet owners can “connect” with their Tamagotchi and their friends. Visitors to the site can register their pet online and receive free instant messaging buddy icons, e-cards and downloadable games and activities, such as the creating your own Tamagotchi music video. Once registered, visitors will receive news and updates on other registered Tamagotchi owners, on the latest Tamagotchi tips on caring for your Tamagotchi. Registrants can also create a free customizable Tamagotchi carrier. The Celebrity Connection Section of the site offers a photo album of all the hot celebrities who already have their own Tamagotchi Connection. For owners who still have questions about raising their own virtual pet, the Matchmaker is available online to answer questions.

Tamagotchi Connection Scores on eBay

To celebrate the return of Tamagotchi, Bandai America released special unopened packages of Tamagotchi Connection and Tamagotchi Connection T-shirts for bid on eBay this summer. The Tamagotchi Connection packaging and T-shirts were specially autographed by celebrities from film, television, sports and fashion, such as Jack Nicholson, George Lucas, Carmen Electra and Tony Hawk. All proceeds from the auction benefited the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. The Foundation creates a future of hope for children and families worldwide by eradicating pediatric AIDS, providing care and treatment to people with HIV/AIDS, and accelerating the discovery of new treatments for other serious and life-threatening pediatric illnesses.

About Toys “R” Us Times Square

Toys “R” Us, Inc., one of the world’s leading retailers of toys, baby products and children’s apparel, operates toy stores in the United States; international toy stores, including franchised and licensed stores; Babies “R” Us stores and Geoffrey stores. Toys “R” Us, Inc. currently sells merchandise through 1,473 stores worldwide: 680 toy stores in the United States; 583 international toy stores including licensed and franchise stores; 200 Babies “R” Us stores, and 4 Geoffrey stores. Toys “R” Us, Inc. also sells merchandise through its Internet sites at www.toysrus.com, www.babiesrus.com, www.imaginarium.com and www.sportsrus.com. The company is in the process of closing its 6 remaining freestanding Kids “R” Us stores.

About Metreon - Sony Entertainment Center

Metreon is the first-of-its-kind entertainment center located at Fourth and Mission streets in the heart of downtown San Francisco. This 350,000 square-foot complex features an eclectic mix of the Bay Area's best restaurants, shopping venues, theatres, and attractions, including the West Coast's largest IMAX theatre. Metreon is a business unit of Sony Corporation of America. For information about Metreon, please call (415) 369-6000 or visit www.metreon.com.

About Bandai America Incorporated

Bandai America Incorporated is a subsidiary of Bandai Co. Ltd., the third largest toy company in the world, with 38 subsidiaries in 13 countries worldwide. Global interests include toys and children’s entertainment, video game software, multimedia, music, full-length feature films, vending machines, trading cards, candies and licensed apparel.

Bandai America Incorporated is the master toy licensee of some of the most popular properties and brands in children’s toys and entertainment, including the Power Rangers, Gundam, Teen Titans, Strawberry Shortcake and Tamagotchi product lines. Bandai America is headquartered in Cypress, California and company information is available at www.Bandai.com.

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