The Force is with KDDI young WWJ Padowans. Japan may be one of the last countries on the planet to see the Revenge of the Sith film, not premiering here until July 9th, but KDDI has contracted where no other Japanese telecom has contracted before (I know, I know, it’s a Star Trek reference but cut me some slack), at least for 3G cell phones.
Starting June 9th, exclusive Star Wars content will be available to subscribers of KDDI’s EZChannel, EZBook and EZ Movie portals for au 3G CDMA 1X WIN cell phones. All six of the Star Wars films stories will be readable with EZBooks; over EZChannel, a talk-through guide on how to better understand this latest edition to the series; while EZMovie will run trailers as a quick fix for those fans who continue to be deprived of actually seeing the film. Star Wars music and Star Wars books will be available for real-world purchase on cell phones from auRecords and auBooks. More fun features include a downloadable Flash screen where Anakin becomes one with the user’s cell phone battery. His light saber flashes from blue to red as your battery power levels sink into the danger zone.
Shortly before the movie premiers in July, a charity auction kicks off on KDDI?fs mobile auction site. Twenty high-end Star Wars collectibles are up for bidding including a Darth Vader Helmet, AT-AT Walker and full-size Lightsaber model. Proceeds from the auction will go towards NGO Save the Children. Just registering for the auction event gives KDDI users a chance to win tickets to Revenge of the Sith (50 pairs of tickets) or special edition R2D2 and C3PO figures (500 to giveaway). The entire Star Wars campaign runs until August 17th.
In the US, Cingular Wireless also has a big Star Wars mobile campaign running at light speed (check out the ringtones, voice tones and games). Their Star Wars Mobile site is holding a contest to win a full sized Vader Viper sports car. Sports car. Full size. Movie tickets. Tiny droids. Okay, now we feel pitiful and deprived despite our brawny Japanese 3G download speeds. Japanese corporations, however, are under severe constraints regarding contest giveaways and at least the KDDI auction money is going for charity. Though KDDI is perhaps drawing at least somewhat on the Dark Side of the Force using the event to drive traffic to its upgraded auction site where from July 1st users (who must be 18 or over) pay 315 yen to register.
Also in the US, Sony Ericcsson?fs S710a handset (Z500 in the UK) has special Star Wars tie-ins (rather like DoCoMo?fs Cloud Special for Final Fantasy Advent Children).
Star Wars has a solid fan base in Japan and a strong ongoing presence through Japanese mobile contents providers. Star Wars ringtones, wallpaper and online games have been a subscription feature for several years on DoCoMo?fs imode wireless network. For the last film, Attack of the Clones, Cybird supplied a whole range mobile content for iMode and what was then J-Phone (now Vodafone.)
The 3G Force will be with us always, at least as long as we can keep up the payments.
– Gail Nakada