The Tamagotchi (たまごっち) is a handheld digital pet that was created in Japan by Akihiro Yokoi of WiZ and Aki Maita of Bandai. It was released by Bandai on November 23, 1996, in Japan and on May 1, 1997, in the rest of the world, quickly becoming one of the biggest toy fads of the late 1990s and the early 2000s. As of 2010, over 76 million Tamagotchis had been sold worldwide. As of 2017, over 82 million units have been sold. Most Tamagotchi are housed in a small egg-shaped computer with an interface consisting of three buttons.
According to Bandai, the name is a portmanteau combining the two Japanese words Tamago (たまご), which means "egg", and Uotchi (ウオッチ) "watch". After the original English spelling of watch, the name is sometimes romanized as Tamagotch without the "i" in Japan. Most Tamagotchi characters' names end in chi (ち) in Japanese, with few exceptions.