Digital pets are electronic animal-based interactive programs for computers, mobile phones and other devices that let you care for a virtual animal. Often these pets look and behave just like real animals in appearance or behavior.
Digital pets have an internal life cycle, in which they require food, water, playtime and grooming as well as sometimes training or medical attention. Furthermore, internal programming provides various indicators of their health status and requirements.
In some cases, digital pets can communicate with their owners through human-like signals such as body language and facial expressions. This helps create a more realistic relationship with the pet and gives users the impression of having an actual connection to their digital pet.
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Interactivity is commonly referred to as short-term and long-term interactivity.
Short-term interactivity involves direct physical contact with a digital pet, such as clicking or “touching” it with the mouse cursor. This type of interaction is considered the most engaging because it gives users an intimate feeling that they are part of the pet’s behavior and emotions.
Some digital pets allow players to engage with them by giving them a name and playing games with them. This can increase the amount of time and effort invested into the pet by giving it an sense of ownership.
It can also serve to foster a social connection with the pet, as many people share their virtual pets online with friends.
Digital pets can be an enjoyable and easy-to-care for addition to your life. They come in all shapes and sizes, with various needs and behaviors that may seem remarkably lifelike.
Some people opt to get their pets from a breeder, while others opt for digital pet design created by an experienced hobbyist. Furthermore, several companies have started producing their own digital pets which are currently available on the market for purchase.
Recently, there have been an array of digital pets available on the market. These range from simple stuffed animals to intricate virtual dogs and cats.
Shoppers can purchase these from retailers or websites. Some are free, while others require either a membership fee or in-game currency for purchase.
One of the most beloved digital pets is the Tamagotchi, a handheld egg-shaped device introduced in 1996 by Aki Maita and Akihiro Yokoi as an inexpensive, basic alternative to traditional pets.
Tamagotchi was an immensely popular game in its day, and continues to be sold today. In 2004, a sequel called Tamagotchi Plus introduced additional features.
Over the years, other digital pet games have emerged such as Kinectimals and Pokemon. These were designed with portability in mind, allowing users to transfer their virtual pets between platforms or devices.
The popularity of digital pets is surging, with people willing to shell out money for one in their life. The industry is worth US$225 billion and expected to keep expanding.