Background and Identification
Released in 1998, the Furby is an American electronic robotic toy manufactured by Tiger Electronics. The Furby is a fictional character that resembles a hamster or owl-like creature. During its holiday season launch, the Furby was a “must-have” toy with continual sales until 2000—translating to over 40 million Furbies sold in its three years of original production. 1.8 million Furbies were sold in 1998 and then 14 million Furbies were sold in 1999, leading to its speaking capabilities being translated into 24 languages.
The launch of the Furby was the first commercially successful attempt to produce and sell a domestically-aimed robot. Fresh out of the package, the Furby speaks “Furbish”, a unique language to Furbies. The toy is programmed to start using English words and phrases in place of Furbish over time—resembling learning a new language.
In 2005, the Furby was revived with Hasbor’s Emoto-Tronic Furby with upgrades such as voice recognition and more complex facial features. Then in 2012, Hasbro announced that it was launching a new line of Furbies to be released in September 2012. The new Furbies came in 16 colors and was named one of the eleven top toys for Christmas 2013 by the Toy Retailers Association at the Dream Toys Convention.