The Tamagotchi (たまごっち) [tamaɡotꜜtɕi] is a handheld digital pet, 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 May 1997 in the rest of the world, quickly becoming one of the biggest toy fads of the 1990s and early 2000s. Up until 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 usually consisting of three buttons, although the number of buttons may vary.