Nineties kids (and their parents) will remember the Tamagotchi craze, when every preteen had a 10-pixel pet in their pocket.

The mini companions enjoyed a small resurgence last year, but they’re about to be dethroned as man’s digital best friend: 3D virtual pets have arrived.

The Petaverse Network landed $7m to create its first generation of digital pet cats, due for launch early this year. Not to be outdone, there are now also AI-driven canines for dog lovers.