Google Piloting Crane Game Apps in Japan

People play physical claw machine games in a mall.

Photo: Tang Ke/Costfoto/Future Publishing (Getty Images)

In a few months, Android users in Japan will be able to try their hand at one of the most iconic and infuriating arcade games of all time: the claw machine.

In a support article spotted by android fontGoogle outlined its plans for a year-long pilot project for claw machine apps, also known as crane games online, in its Japanese Play Store from July 11 this year. Online claw machine apps allow users to remotely maneuver a real operator-installed arcade machine in a physical space. Users watch via a live video feed of the crane game on their phone to guide them.

Players who manage to win a prize through the Crane Game app – which, as my younger self laments, is extremely difficult – can have it shipped directly to their home. There are, however, a few caveats. According to Comments on these apps in the USA, which are already available, sometimes you have to pay for the app ship your hard earned prize in addition to paying player.

Developers who wish to participate in Google’s pilot project in Japan must obtain certification from the Japan Online Crane Game Industrialist Association. They must also apply directly to Google and have a Play Developer account in good standing.

Google has a few stipulations about the kinds of prices online claw machine apps can offer. Although there are not many examples of acceptable prices, there is a long list of prices that are not. They are the following:

  • NFT/cryptocurrency or cash equivalents (e.g. gift cards)
  • alcohol, smoking, vaping or other tobacco products
  • underwear
  • items intended to be sexually gratifying (e.g. sex toys)
  • dangerous goods, including explosives, firearms, ammunition, weapons
  • other products which may cause serious bodily harm to others

The prospect of winning counterfeit NFT or one without value piece of money is dark, so good on banning Google. Good luck to the Japanese who decide to try their luck. As for users in the United States, well, do what makes you happy. Don’t break the bank while you’re doing it.


Comments are closed.