Google unveils Android game vending machines in Tokyo

by: Andrew GrushSeptember 30, 2013

Google Play

Do you secretly wish you could leave the comfort of home, jump in your car and drive to a vending machine all in the name of downloading some of your favorite Android games? Me neither, but that’s not stopping Google from installing three unique app vending machines in front of the Parco department store in Shibuya, Tokyo. The new app vending machines will offer up a total of 18 titles, a mixture of free and premium games.

What’s the purpose of an Android game vending machine? We suppose that folks who are opposed to using a credit card online could find this handy, though 18 apps sure keeps your selection limited. Additionally, a machine like this could maybe be good for those with limited data plans.


In all honesty though, this is really on of those “because you can” ideas, with little practicality. Still, it could be a fun gimmick, and a unique way to further promote the Google Play store and Android ecosystem in Japan.

At least initially, the machines will be manned by Google Employees and will even allow folks to try out a Nexus 4 with the machine – though they will obviously have to give back the phone when they are done.

For those wondering how the machine works, it simply requires an NFC-capable Android device with Android 4.0 or higher. You put in the money, choose an app and then place the phone on a tray that uses NFC to complete the app transfer.

This is certainly an interesting concept, and one that will probably do well in Japan. We doubt these machines will ever make their way outside of Japan, but if they did, would you be interested in trying one out?

  • frhow

    Y?…. Sometimes Google does too much. Not often but in this case…

  • Tsakane

    OMG I love Google!

  • rabidhunter

    Japan has that, “Just because we can,” culture. Just look at some of the pop, Dorito, candy, etc… flavors that they have. And then their game shows… Why not? This looks like fun, great way to promote Android. I wish they had one in every mall.

  • Tuấn Ankh

    Maybe it works in Tokyo because people walk around a lot.
    Here in the US, people want to buy their games while sitting on the couch with a coke. XD

  • dodz

    I can imagine kids in the future asking money to buy apps, instead of going to arcades, “mommy mommy can i have money to buy this app” most kids today owns a smartphone anyway.

  • T.J.

    There is obviously a market for it or they wouldn’t have done it.

  • RanRu

    This strikes me as appealing to the compulsive consumer. You don’t “jump in your car and drive to a vending machine” for a Snickers (probably). You buy one because you’re out and you see the machine and now you can’t stop thinking about it.
    If they had the Nexus 4 mounted to the machine the same way demo units are in Best Buy and such, then it would be a good idea because you could play the game before buying it to see if you like it.

    • trex

      I agree, personally I feel more comfortable with this approach.
      it’s a very friendly way to promote Android.
      I hope to see more of this vending machine, outside japan too :)

  • Siyakha

    This would be good in South africa because data bundles are expensive here