Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
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Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

I never understood the tamagotchi pet craze. Isn't the point of technology to simply and enrich our lives? Granted this is a bit of an ideal, but when I have to start giving my electronic appliance undue attention just to get it to stop nagging me, I think it's time to pull the batteries.
This seems even more ludicrous. A virtual girlfriend upon "whom" you spend money and time, and what do you get in return? A computerized thank you, or a cold shoulder. Are these people trying to profit from some sort of strange masochistic subculture? The scary thing here might just work.

-- dhd // 9:18 PM // 2 comments


simply goes to show the importance (and profitability) in understanding difference cultures. Asian culture is very ... odd ;) Artificial companionship and faux dependence allow individuals in intensely crowded populations to feel needed. That was one selling point for Tamagochis.
// Blogger matt // 3:38 AM

I am not too sure about that...I think there's gotta be a better explanation. India and Japan have similar population density levels, but I doubt if the Tamaguchi would've done well in India at all.

However, you are right to the extent that there's something in Japanese society/culture that made it work. It'd be interesting to figure out what that is.

Personally, my guess would be the individual relationship capital, rather than the population density per se. In Indian society, high population density tends to results in a very rich and complex web of relationships, so people are much less likely to want to feel wanted by an artificial entity. In any case, this is a very interesting part of Umair's Simulation Economy.
// Blogger Mahashunyam // 5:21 AM

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