Pachinko and Japanese Pop Culture

2. The pachinko industry and the content industry

2.1 The tie-in needed to support the pachinko industry
In recent years the majority of new pachinko machines are based on existing IP, and the number of hit new machines that use original content is rare. The kind of tie-ins that are used span many fields such as anime, manga, television, movies, games, and celebrities.

The advantages of using tie-ins are not only helping to overcome the initial hurdle to trying pachinko, but also enabling developers to reduce the time taken to create a new machine.
As opposed to video games, pachinko machines are generally developed in about one year, and at most two. Any longer than that and the ordinances surrounding pachinko may change during development and invalidate the work that a company has done.

Furthermore, the fads associated with the way a machine works or looks change aggressively, so developing as quickly as possible while still making time to focus on quality is an unbreakable rule.
When creating an original IP for pachinko machines, one has to design the look and feel, characters, and story to be as enticing as possible, but one can save a lot of time by simply using existing anime, manga, and so on which is already popular.

2.2 Widely used content
Within the context of the previously mentioned tie-ins, anime and games are used more than other fields.
One reason for this is that it is easy to use movie sequences from them. Most pachinko machines use not only existing movie sequences from the original content, but originally created onces as well. When tying in with a live-action film or television series, there are other complicating factors, such as actor schedules, which don’t exist when using 2D animation or 3D graphics.
Furthermore, securing an actor for long enough to create a game that will satisfy pachinko players is difficult, and indirectly related to the fact that standards for games and anime are very high.

One important factor in pachinko is the ability to easily tell when a player is winning or losing. The player has to be shown through movie clips, but movies that don’t properly convey the feeling of winning or losing are unacceptable. Games and anime which have a variety of ways to show winning or losing, and can have new content created are the easiest to bring to the pachinko world.

Other forms of IP like manga, television shows, and movies have an existing world already and are not as easily brought to pachinko. This is because manga has to be created from scratch and take a lot of time, and it is difficult to procure the original actors from movies and television shows so animation needs to be used instead.
Aside from the fact that it takes time for the actors to make additional scenes, making the machines to match the characters eliminates the possibility of rapid development and so these forms of IP are not the most effective.