GBA movie vending machine to hit Japan

New machine will sell downloadable anime for Game Boy Advance owners.

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TOKYO--Japanese peripheral manufacturer am3 announced today that it will begin testing a new vending machine that sells movies for the Game Boy Advance. Market testing of the vending machine will take place at 20 locations around Japan from August through September.

To get movies from the new machine, customers will insert a proprietary rewriteable Smart Media card and then download the movie data, which can then be viewed with a separate GBA device called Advance Movie. Each movie will cost between 100 ($0.91) to 400 yen ($3.70), depending on the content. On sale since last year, all Advance Movie titles thus far have been based on anime programs.

The first four TV episodes of Pokemon will be available in August for 300 yen ($2.70) each, followed by four more episodes in September. The 32MB media card used for storing the movie data will retail for 1,980 yen ($18). The manufacturer, am3, plans to eventually install its vending machines across all of Japan. The company hopes to place 10,000 machines in total by summer 2005.

Aside from movie data, am3 plans to make other data available as well. Announced in March, its Advance Comic peripheral lets users view manga (comics) on the GBA. The company is also planning to sell data from the machine for three other GBA peripherals currently in development. They are: Advance Picture, for viewing still images; Advance Music, which allows music playback; and Advance Navi, which displays maps.

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