Hatchimals next-generation toy is double trouble

Hatchimals return, as twins
Hatchimals return, as twins

The latest Hatchimals toy egg is bigger, heavier and hiding something extra.

Spin Master, the toymaker behind 2016's biggest toy phenomenon, showed off on Thursday the next-generation version of its product. Called Hatchimals Surprise, two furry interactive toys self-hatch out of a single egg.

The twins, which could either be identical or fraternal, interact with each other (and you), and their personalities age in maturity in the weeks following their birth.

The original Hatchimals' debut last year sparked a buying frenzy. Desperate parents stood in line for hours to score one for kids ahead of the holidays. Some enterprising entrepreneurs stockpiled the toy and made a killing by reselling them on eBay (EBAY).

Hatchimals surprise
Hatchimals Surprise is filled with double trouble.

Toy industry analyst Jim Silver estimates Spin Master sold two million Hatchimals last year, logging about $80 million in revenue. He believes Hatchimals Surprise could be even a bigger success this shopping season.

"Having seen their new Hatchimals products for this year, I think the brand could triple sales to $250 million," he said.

Spin Master declined to comment on Hatchimals sales.

While the original Hatchimals pecked their way out of the egg, the twins take on a more realistic approach.

"[They] burst their way out of the top, very much like we see real animals come out of an egg," said James Martin, head of robotics at Spin Master. "Their hatching experience is totally different [than the original]."

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The siblings sit on top of each other. It takes between seven to 15 minutes for the egg to hatch, and it needs your help. Hatchimals owners have to interact with the egg which features touch technology. You'll need to hold, tap and talk to the egg to move along the process.

A high-tech mechanism inside the toy allows it to crack through the egg. The first twin breaks out on its own. Eventually, you'll need to reach into the egg to pull the second one out.

Hatchimals surprise identical twins
Hatchimal twins will either be identical or fraternal but you'll only know after you hatch them.

Unlike the first Hatchimals, the twins interact with each other through built-in sensors. They giggle and say "I love you" when they face each other. They also get upset when they're apart for too long. If you press one of their noses, it will sing. The other sibling reacts by dancing, rocking back and forth and flapping its wings. Both include LED eyes.

They also play games and repeat words. This feature ignited a controversy last year when some parents said the most-hyped toy of the season had a potty mouth.

In videos posted on YouTube, parents insisted their Hatchimals toy swore in its sleep. But the company declined the claims, stating Hatchimals don't speak English -- they have their own made-up language. However, the toy repeats what the users says, up to three seconds of sound, and Spin Master said it can't control what's said to it.

"It does repeat what you say to it. We can't control that," he said. "We respect that people may think they hear something, but we have put the toy through very rigorous testing."

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Hatchimals Surprise ($70) includes two "species": a Giraven, a mix of a giraffe and a raven, and a Peacat, a combination of a peacock and a cat.

The toy hits stores Friday.

Hatchimals surprise fraternal twins
Fraternal hatchimal twins

The company is also launching an update to the original Hatchimals brand with two new species coming in December: Tigrette and Puffatoo. Last year's species -- Pengualas and Draggles -- will slowly be phased out .

Spin Master is eager to grow Hatchimals beyond just toys.

"We're expanding into licensed goods like T-shirts, bedding, even costumes. The possibilities are endless," said Martin.

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