Robot dog? Game controller? Guaranteed sale to anyone who wishes they owned a puppy? Sega Toys' upcoming "Wappy Dog" is all of these.
In sum, Wappy Dog is a peripheral created by Sega Toys and Activision Publishing designed to interact with an upcoming, as-yet-untitled Nintendo DS game. The dog can understand 18 commands spoken into the Nintendo DS microphone, and will respond with 350 evolving responses ranging from the relatively typical (barking) to the unrealistic, but totally cute (singing and dancing).
Not much is known of the game that will accompany Wappy Dog, but the official press release does mention a host of mini games and the ability to sync game progress with the robot dog itself.
"This one-of-a-kind toy and video game combines a strong emotional bond and exciting virtual experience with the interaction of a physical pet," said Activision Publishing's David Oxford.
That, boys and girls, is the real question mark in this situation. Wappy is undeniably adorable and people do so love adorable these days, but given that Nintendo's R.O.B. the Robot peripheral was met with middling success, and Sony's AIBO was a flop, one wonders exactly how successful Wappy might be. Cynically speaking, I'll be impressed if the concept survives a single calendar year.
An earlier press release, issued in February, claims Wappy Dog will hit store shelves this Christmas. Without any new, contradictory information, I expect to see Wappy Dog and its companion game this holiday season.