The history of Furby

The history of Furby
Image credit: Flickr (CC) / Vox Efx

Furby toys are classic stuffed animals that first came out in 1998. Ever since then they have been very popular and have had several new versions and new features. The history of Furby is quite interesting.

So far there have been three generations of Furbies. It all started back in 1997. Dave Hampton and Caleb Chung spent about 18 months on designing and creating the first Furby. Then, with the help of Richard Levy they got TIger Electronics to buy the rights to the toy and start producing it. Thus Furby made its first appearance at the American International Toy Fare in 1998.

Furbies immediately caught on and sold in big numbers from the start. Since there weren’t enough Furbies to satifsy demand a big second hand market developed with the toys being resold for hundreds of dollars. The original sale price was just 35 dollars.

Some people starteg calling Furbies by nicknames like wedding Furby, tuxedo Furby and so on in accordance with their given accesories. The demand for the toys was still rising even though more than 27 million of them were produced and sold.

Then Furby went away. Demand for them though didn’t. As the second hand market continued to grow, people wanted new Furbies with decent prices. So in 2005 Furby came back for a short run with the Emoto-Tronic Furby.

It was not enough and just sparked more interest. So in 2012 Habro announced that it will be making an entire new line of Furbies. The result was a new generation of Furby in 16 colors and a whole new set of options.

2012 Furbies can be synced with an iOS or an Android app, wider range of emotions and the ability to change behavior in accordance to its owner’s behavior. In 2013 there was an updated version with even more personalities.

For the 2014 Christmas season a new version of Furby was released. It is called Furby BOOM Crystal Series and it has new appearance, new colors and fur. The smartphone apps are also updated.

Furby is so popular that in 2005 it had its own TV show. A 45-minute TV special called Furby Island in which two kids discover an island filled with Furbies and help them in various ways.

Furbies also have their own language. It is called Furbish and it has several phrases that Furbies use when are activated for the first time. As you continue to use the toy, it will slowly learn English and start replacing the phrases with the given English translations. But they will still say some Furbish words from time to time. Like yoo? if you haven’t given them enough attention and they are upset or doo? if they are asking you “What?” and so on.

Overall Furby can be quite fun. It is definately one of the all-time classic stuffed animals that will continue to be loved by many for quite some time to come.