The '90s gifted us a plethora of fun and memorable playthings but the greatest may have been Bandai's virtual pet toys. Released in 1997, Digital Monster was intended to be the "male" counterpart of the Tamagotchi Virtual Pet—enjoyed by players of all genders and ages but generally marketed toward the feminine crowd. It was from the success of this toy that the #Digimon media franchise that we have come to know and love was born. Next year, that release will have been 20 years ago.
In honor of this anniversary, Bandai has launched a countdown on the official Digimon website that ends on January 6th, 2017 at 10:00 JST.
Digimon 20th Anniversary Countdown Begins
There's a lot of speculation about what Bandai's got in store for us come January 6th. Given the growth that the franchise has seen in gaming since the release of the virtual pet nearly 20 years ago, it would make sense to assume that, at the very least, a new release is on the horizon. Could we be playing one of these games come 2017?
Digimon World: Next Order
One thing we can be sure of is the upcoming release of Digimon World: Next Order on the PS4. Released in Japan on PS Vita back in March of this year, Next Order is slated for expansion to #PS4 in February 2017 in Japan and at the very end of January in the rest of the world.
It's an open world role-playing game that lets you train and battle Digimon in the always colorful Digital World. Some of the gameplay can be seen in this wonderfully ridiculous story trailer:
Though close, these dates put Next Order nearly a month away from the end of our countdown which still leaves us with the same questions—maybe more!
While it would be fun for a little while to tinker with a revamped Digital Monster toy, the virtual pet toy format of the 90s would face some tough competition with all of the innovative game tech on the market today. One rather formidable contender would be #PokemonGO, a game that saw viral success throughout the year. One could argue that a similar augmented reality game with the well-loved Digimon name could be exactly what the franchise needs to put itself back on the map in Europe and North America.
What do you think Bandai has in mind for the anniversary of the Digital Monster virtual pet?