August 29, 2006
Roulette Games on Japanese ATMs

I don't know if this is an example of convergence culture per say, but this story that popped on Reuters really caught my eye, and I couldn't help but relay it to the way that media and entertainment creeps into the strangest places, this time games.

According to the story, there is a Japanese bank hoping to attract customers to ATM machines using a gimmick I've never heard of before: allowing a post-transaction chance at roulette.

The automatic teller machines for Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank will allow customers one spin of the roulette wheel after finishing their banking business, with the chance to win 1,000 yen, which is equivalent to $8.50, according to the Reuters story.

I wasn't aware of this, but the story claims that ATMs have not caught on well in Japan because of poor service from most banks, so the game is a hope to attract current customers to use the ATM machine, with the incentive being a slight chance of winning a little extra money for their transaction.

The new initiative, however, isn't the first, as the company launched an on-screen slot machine game on its ATMs a year ago.

I don't know if this particular form of gaming, as limited and arbitrary as it is, will gain a lot of insight, but it is proof that sometimes media pops up in places you would never expect (and gambling is probably one of the most pervasive media forms of all).



It's quite interesting to know about this Japanese way of attracting customers at ATM machines. Looking at the subject after some time I could not find any report of how successful the move had been in increasing use of ATM's. Possibly a very small number of people have an interest in roulette so convergence culture does not always mean business. I have a free roulette game - i.e. no money, just free playing - in a hotel reservation website and can confirm that this game does not attract customers for hotels though it has some happy users.


Roulette, I completely agree that converging things "does not always mean business." The question, I guess, is how much is bolstering the support of current customers means, if it really does lead to some happier customers in the process. There's always a question as to how much you value that function, but the other piece of the puzzle is, "You can, but so what?" My most used example is the journalist who said that they put a camera in their newsroom at their newspaper. I have to ask, "Yes, but why?" Just putting a camera there doesn't mean much; making it somehow relevant to the overall experience is key.