This is billed as the only “bioengineered buddy”, available in 7 different personality types. The reason the Genpet looks so creepy in its packaging is because since it is a real-deal bioengineered.. um.. thing.. shipped in “hibernated” state.
The explanation for the restraints while the Genpet is in the package is to prevent damage. Well, maybe so, but it looks just plain wrong.
Being this is a bioengineered thing, it does have the ability to learn and adapt. No, it cannot be trained to be your subservient slave to wash dishes and feed the cat, nor can it use your computer, steal all your money and run off to live life as a hobo. It is simply a “smart” toy.
Bear in mind this is definitely not the first instance of adaptable technology in toys. One example from the 1990s is “virtual pet” handheld games, namely Tamagotchi, which were little egg-shaped devices that had simple-but-entertaining adaptable tech in them. Another example you may remember are Pocket Neopets.
Genpets is just the next evolution of learning technology in toys. Not the prettiest thing in the world, but certainly more attractive than Madballs (which are awesome, by the way).