Since the reintroduction of Tamagotchi virtual pets in 2004, Counterfeit Tamagotchi toys have been circulating the online market. They are fake Tamagotchis which retain similar appearances to modern Tamagotchi pets, though they contain inferior programming that does not resemble the original toy. They cannot interact with official Tamagotchi toys, are made with cheaper materials, and are not suitable as a Tamagotchi alternative.
In July 2004, Bandai began a full-scale investigation on the production of the counterfeit toys. However, despite their efforts, counterfeits continued rapid production. Bandai has since put out press releases to help consumers identify the differences between the official pets and the counterfeits.
Identifying a Counterfeit
A counterfeit toy will contain one or more of the following discrepancies:
- It is most likely to look identical to a Japanese shell, with the exception of minor color differences.
- It is most likely to be in unusual packaging, typically plastic on a card.
- The packaging is most likely to be in broken English.
- The packaging is not likely to have any trademark information or the Bandai logo.
- The name "Tamagotchi" is most likely to either be missing or misspelled.
- The packaging is most likely to have the letters "JD" on it.
- It is most likely to have phrases such as "50 in 1", "Touchscreen", or "Spanish Edition".
- It is most likely to come with random accessories, such as a laser pen or stylus.
- It is most likely to be named as a version (anywhere between Version 3 through Version 9).
- It may have 4 or 5 buttons in front.
- The Infrared port may have a different color from the norm; official Tamagotchi toys' infrared port will be one of two shades of red (but can be black on some limited edition shells).
- The programming on the toy will not resemble the classic Tamagotchi in any way.
- It is most likely to have different characters which do not resemble any known Tamagotchi characters, or resemble certain characters but warped/disfigured.
- If the packaging claims the toy is Version 3 through Version 6, the programming will not resemble that version.
- It will have much larger pixels on the LCD with no visible icons.
- It will not be able to communicate with other Tamagotchi toys, legitimate or counterfeit.