Gachapon, also known as gashapon, are those ubiquitous capsule vending machines found throughout Japan. Children and adults alike have taken delight in inserting their leftover change into the coin slot, twisting the handle, and eagerly watching as their surprise toy clatters (gachagacha) into view. These prizes aren’t just any run-of-the-mill gumballs, either–capsule toy machines in Japan dispense everything from intricate rice cooker coin cases to coffee beans at the swanky Gacha Gacha Coffee.
While Japan is still largely a cash-based society, the rapidly growing popularity of cashless payment apps such as PayPay and LINE Pay over the past year has signaled an apparent shift towards the age of cashless transactions. This trend is reflected in a recent press release showcasing the introduction of cashless gachapon set to be released in Japan this summer.
The new line of machines has been dubbed Pipitto Gacha (ピピットガチャ), stylized as Pipit Gacha, and is being developed by the Tech Gacha Institute, which has already released a line of Smile Gacha machines. Smile Gacha machines work by means of an internal camera that grants the user one turn of the handle for a prize when it recognizes a smile, as shown in the video below.
Similarly, the new Pipit Gacha line will utilize an internal QR code reader and a 4G net connection to scan a QR code on your smart phone for payment. Once the transaction is approved, you can turn the handle just as with a regular machine to receive your prize. Developers state that this technologically enhanced system combines the traditional thrill of gachapon with the convenience of not needing to have coins on hand to play.
Furthermore, Pipit Gacha has the potential to be used for a variety of applications as the price for one play can be freely set by individual businesses as well as customization of the glass case itself and its bodily design. Businesses could also utilize the machines as tools for sales promotions given their function to distribute QR codes for prizes to online shoppers which can only be redeemed at machines in physical store locations. This function could also be used for new product campaigns or for limited-time rewards for store members, or to collect marketing data to help businesses track what types of customers use the machines and at what times.
▼ Look for this logo for the cashless gashapon this summer.
Pipit Gacha will be on display at the Live Entertainment Expo to be held from Feb 5-7 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba City. The first day of the expo also marks the first day that companies can begin pre-ordering the machines, which are expected to be rolled out for use in June. The fee for rental of one unit is currently set at 6,000 yen per month. Its developers predict an initial shipping of 500 machines and an anticipated 100 million yen in sales.
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