Amazon Japan And Yodobashi Camera Heat Up On The Release Day Delivery

We just reported that electronic chain-store Yodobashi Camera began the same day delivery around Tokyo on weekend. I saw it as the race for better service level against its competitors, including Amazon Japan.

On September 5, Amazon Japan started a new delivery option “Hatsubaibi Todoke”(= deliver on the release day) initially with selected games, Gamespot Japan reported [J].

Amazon Japan’s top page is boasting this “Hatubaibi Todoke” at the top center,

The option cost 350 yen($4.5) unless you are Amazon Japan prime member. Amazon Japan reportedly will add more products for this option. It makes sense for me as gamers are the people who really want to get and play the products as earliest as they can do. By guaranteeing the release date delivery, more people who bought the newly released game at big retails (like Yodobashi Camera!) may turn to Amazon.

Then today, September 6, Yodobashi Camera puts a big banner on its site top, which says “Delivery on the release day is nothing unusual on Yodobashi for long”.

It says that Yodobashi’s online mall has been shipping all pre-ordered products, not only games but also CD/DVD/Blue-lay and other electronics appliances which are labeled so, for free with no strings.

They do not mention Amazon at all, which is natural in Japanese business practice, but it is clear that they set up this new informational campaign against whom. See how Yodobashi’s banner uses the same color and font as Amazon Japan’s, and adds their texts over it. It’s funny.

Barcode Kanojo – Barcode Battler Reincarnated With Otaku Flavour

Barcode Kanojo is a free iPhone Application with virtual social dating community service by Cybird, Japan-based mobile contents company.

We reported the news title (only) in early August, but it seems to take time to be approved by Apple.

You may download the application, scan any 1D barcode around you, then you will get one virtual girlfriend generated out of 7 trillion variations.

Those virtual anime girls will have appearance by at where the barcode is scanned – longitude and latitude – and in which country – country code in the barcode -. (ITMedia [J]) For example, the girl’s hair tends to be black if you scan in Asia or scan Asian products.

You may make a communication with the generated virtual girls by touch. See a demo movie,

By scanning the same barcode(=product), your current virtual date will be a friend of the other’s.

The app/service are provided all in English, available on several different country’s iTunes AppStore.

The site shows that there are over 24,000 girls generated today. As some people already pointed out on the web, the game vendor will get a lot of information what products the user has around him/her, with location info. If that is the source of monetization they think, it is not strange that the app is free.

In Japan, there was a big boom of Barcode Battler in early 1990’s, when all kids were into scanning barcodes and let them fight virtually. So a game scanning barcode may still have some charm for grown Japanese boys. And it has Moe, too.

But that Barcode Battler’s export was not so successful. The massive boom was only in Japan. How will this Cybird’s all-in-English challenge go?