More Photo Sticker Machines to Snap US Arcades

All the rage in Japan, more photo sticker machines are set to reach US shores from Altus and Sega.

The Prikura or Print Club photo machine device, which creates sheets of thumbnail-sized pictures in the form of stickers, has proven to be a big hit in Japan, where it was introduced in July 1995.

Now, Japan's Atlus Co. Ltd. and Sega are hoping to reassert their product's viability and export its popularity to the United States. Atlus is set to launch an advanced version of the machine in both the US and Japan.

The game has proven especially popular among high school girls in Japan, Atlus says. With the Print Club machines, people enter a curtained booth and can watch their reflection as they pose for photos, which the machine prints out as stickers. Other features of the device allow users to choose the border or to add graphics (pictures of cartoon or popular TV show stars) to the prints.

The Super Prikura 21 will go on sale in late February in Japan for a price of 1.98 million yen. That's $14,800 American. The machine produces a sheet of 16 pictures-on-stickers for 300 yen ($2).

No word on when the American version of the Super Prikura 21 will come out or what its price will be.

The new machine is part of Atlus's drive to win back market share it has lost in Japan to other photo machine makers. In that country, Atlus's market share has fallen to around 60 percent. The company aims to win back 80 percent of the market through the introduction of the new product, an Atlus official said.

Between 24,000 and 25,000 Print Club machines have been sold so far in Japan with some 23,000 installed at outdoor arcades, large supermarkets, amusement parks, and other sites, according to Atlus.

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