Excerpt from this article:
“What makes the Tamagotchi unique is that if you don’t take care of your pet, they die,” Akihiro Yokoi, who helped create the device, told a Santa Cruz city guide in 2010. “When I am raising my own pet, I often think they are adorable, but that only counts for 20 percent of time; for the rest of the time, I do feel troublesome looking after them. However, the time you spent, the effort you put into your pet turn(s) into love, which is the most important part in the process. I realized this is a ‘must have’ element in a virtual pet game. Death was never a good thing to put into the spec back in the old days, but by adding this into the gameplay, Tamagotchi is one step closer to reality.”
…As the rest of the world moved on, though, online communities clung tightly to the brand. They were invigorated in 2004, when the company announced a new product line called Tamagotchi Connections. These devices looked similar to their predecessors, but came equipped with infrared communication functions that allowed the pets to befriend one another, give gifts, and mate. That same year, the founder of TamaTalk — who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of online harassment — read about the release in a magazine. They were learning HTML and saw an opportunity to build a community.