The claw machine craze that has swept Taiwan seems funny and innocent on the surface, but underneath lies some reason for concern.
The machines began to pop up in mass around 2016. Gambling is illegal in Taiwan and I believe these machines have stepped in to fill a bit of that void people feel in its absence.
At first most of the machines held prizes one would expect to find such as stuffed animals, toys, and candy.
But as time went on the prizes seemed to get more and more strange...
Before long YouTubers were uploading videos on how to win at these things, so machine owners had to resort to questionable methods for rigging the machines. Now almost all of them have multiple rigging mechanisms and creative tricks to not let people win.
But in recent months the claw machine shops have taken another turn down a more risque path.
Many of the machines now feature sex toys and hentai as a way to lure in customers.
This raises quite a few ethical concerns as these machines (which are pretty unethical to begin with in my opinion) are primarily marketed to and frequented by kids.
Regardless it seems like the claw machine industry is not going anywhere anytime soon and I'm curious to see how owners will adapt and modify them to keep a steady flow of customers.
I'll keep you updated on this page.