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NEWS: Minori Producer Discusses Decline of Bishōjo Game Industry


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divinicide



Joined: 08 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:31 am Reply with quote
Somewhere in the world, Keima (TWGOK) is crying.
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relentlessflame



Joined: 14 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:49 am Reply with quote
It's been pointed out before that Light Novels are also a particular area that has siphoned away a lot of the bishoujo game market, especially given that many of the same writers and illustrators are often involved. With the MSRP of the average bishoujo game being 8,800 yen, and the MSRP of the average light novel volume being more in the ~600-800 yen range, it's a lot lower risk to get started. This is why companies like Visual Art's have been musing about the possibility of "episodic" content facilitated through mobile devices (and other company are toying with similar ideas), since the idea of "boxed software" is not exactly gaining momentum. (But at the moment, given that the market has shrunk so much, they depend a lot on boxed sales, with a huge emphasis on limited editions and pre-order bonus items.)

The all-ages market for bishoujo games, that minori was recently trying to crack, is also a tricky one. A game like Supipara seemed to have all the right elements to look at it, but just never caught on. It's perhaps no surprise minori chose to go the 18+ route and play up the sex factor for Perseus, and found greater profitability that way (though no doubt they also spent less on the production). That sort of content certainly has a stigma, but at the same time it's a distinguishing factor in the overly-crowded media landscape. minori games in particular are well-known for their high production values and dramatic storytelling, but that alone doesn't seem sufficient to convince a sizeable audience to pay for the games. I'd say the "people are distracted with a million other choices" rationale probably makes a fair bit of sense, at least as one of the reasons.
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RyanSaotome



Joined: 29 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:57 am Reply with quote
I know personally that unless the VN is from a big developer like a Key or Type Moon, I typically shy away from the all age stuff and only play the 18+. I imagine a lot of others are like that as well, which makes it tough for the developers who aren't quite AAA level to make it big by doing All Age titles.

It does kinda seem sad when you think about it that they need to resort to porn to be successful, but hey thats the industry. Unless you get an ultra loyal fanbase who will buy your stuff regardless, you need to make it more appealing to otaku in ways like that. For games all about dating girls, its kinda tough to avoid the sexual element unless you have a good enough story to make people forget about it.
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Chagen46



Joined: 27 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:03 am Reply with quote
RyanSaotome wrote:
I know personally that unless the VN is from a big developer like a Key or Type Moon, I typically shy away from the all age stuff and only play the 18+. I imagine a lot of others are like that as well, which makes it tough for the developers who aren't quite AAA level to make it big by doing All Age titles.

It does kinda seem sad when you think about it that they need to resort to porn to be successful, but hey thats the industry. Unless you get an ultra loyal fanbase who will buy your stuff regardless, you need to make it more appealing to otaku in ways like that. For games all about dating girls, its kinda tough to avoid the sexual element unless you have a good enough story to make people forget about it.


So basically, you guys will eat up anything if the porn is good enough.

I'm an Eroge and VN fan and even I think that that is just sad.
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Kit-Tsukasa



Joined: 16 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:05 am Reply with quote
Natsuzora no Perseus was really a good game. Not ef quality but considering how much eden* and Supipara surprisingly flopped ( especially the former, likely due to too much hype built in after ef), Natsuzora no Perseus was really a big step up and recovery.

It's kind of like Katawa Shoujo but better in my opinion and prettier, though minori has always been the "SHAFT" animation/art quality for visual novels anyway.

Not to say that eden* or Supipara were bad visual novels but they felt so bland and short. Stories were far too linear for minori titles and just didn't feel like a traditional minori title. Fans these days are also demanding longer and longer games (50+ hours), which I presume is what's really eating the budget. Just look at how much longer Key games have been getting.
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Sleverin



Joined: 15 Jan 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:35 am Reply with quote
What's like Katawa Shoujo but better and where can I get it in English? Because oh my God I loved that game but I burned through all the storylines already...I can't replay it so soon.
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relentlessflame



Joined: 14 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:50 am Reply with quote
Chagen46 wrote:
So basically, you guys will eat up anything if the porn is good enough.

Well, I don't think everyone feels that way. I know I don't, anyway.

I think part of the issue is that producers may go all-ages assuming that the market may be larger that way, and thus budget more on the production, only to find that the work didn't find an audience after all. Visual Art's has also spoken about the tricky nature of the all-ages market, and that a work like Polyphonica (one of the more successful all-ages franchises) really needed the big name author and artist to find its audience. Perhaps that's because all-ages visual novels are in more direct competition with all the other "all-ages" entertainment choices (anime, manga, light novels, games, etc.), so it takes that much more to stand out.

Another factor that may be worth mentioning is that you have some precedence for eroge companies releasing works initially as all-ages, and then later on re-releasing it as 18+ (with added scenes/CGs). I can imagine that there might be some part of the audience that wonders why they should spend full-price for a limited version of the game when a more complete version of the game will just be released later (and at full price again).

I personally bought a number of all-ages visual novels, including Supipara, Rewrite, D.C. III, and others... but I admit there is also a whole other industry of original all-ages visual novels for consoles that I'm less familiar with. In the end, I do think there are too many choices, and you need some sort of filtering process to narrow down what you want to buy, particularly if you're pre-ordering. Though I'm talking about buying in the Japanese market here. Given that English releases happen years after the fact, I think the purchasing factors are quite different. That said, I'm not too sure what to make of the fact that MangaGamer hasn't found great success with most of its all-ages or story-driven titles, and is now focusing more on "sex romp" titles. There's clearly a market for the latter, but I tend to think it isn't necessarily the same as the market for the former... even if the market for the former seems either more limited or more hesitant to pay.
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enurtsol



Joined: 01 May 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:01 am Reply with quote
They're just in a rut. Exclamation

They just can't compete in the wide market. Just need to get better and step up their game to the new competition.
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Ojamajo LimePie



Joined: 09 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:16 am Reply with quote
Sleverin wrote:
What's like Katawa Shoujo but better and where can I get it in English? Because oh my God I loved that game but I burned through all the storylines already...I can't replay it so soon.


You couldn't even play this game if you knew Japanese. It only works on computers with Japanese operating systems.

There are some very nice games similar to Katawa Shoujo available in English for sale at MangaGamer's website. Kira Kira, SHUFFLE, Da Capo, and Otoboku are good games to start with.
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Megiddo



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:23 am Reply with quote
Don't need Japanese operating system at all. Hell, Windows 7 made it easier than ever by just having to change your system locale to Japanese without even needing to use AppLocale like it used to be.
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relentlessflame



Joined: 14 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:33 am Reply with quote
Megiddo wrote:
Don't need Japanese operating system at all. Hell, Windows 7 made it easier than ever by just having to change your system locale to Japanese without even needing to use AppLocale like it used to be.

Well, minori games in particular (like Perseus) have restrictions in place that attempt to lock out foreign players based on a number of OS-specific factors. While it's true that 90%+ of the games will work just fine on Windows 7 if you have your non-Unicode language set to Japanese, there are a small number (like this one) that won't work on non-Japanese operating systems without bypassing the "DRM". Games from Visual Art's are also notable for having the same sort of restrictions.
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Cecilthedarkknight_234



Joined: 02 Apr 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:54 pm Reply with quote
Megiddo wrote:
Don't need Japanese operating system at all. Hell, Windows 7 made it easier than ever by just having to change your system locale to Japanese without even needing to use AppLocale like it used to be.


You do if you want to rewrite, clannad memorial, tomoyo after memorial or any key/visual arts reprints in general with out modding the game.
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Tokimemofan



Joined: 04 Feb 2008
Posts: 35
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:21 pm Reply with quote
Part of the problem is that the industry has been too crowded, 2 years ago when I actually paid attention I noticed that the release list each week was sometimes larger than the entire video game industry release list here in the USA for that week. That does not include all age, reprint and shovelware titles. If I included those in the comparison It would at least double the list just due to companies like Norn or Hanipo that think you can pump out a new game every other week.

relentlessflame wrote:
Megiddo wrote:
Don't need Japanese operating system at all. Hell, Windows 7 made it easier than ever by just having to change your system locale to Japanese without even needing to use AppLocale like it used to be.

Well, minori games in particular (like Perseus) have restrictions in place that attempt to lock out foreign players based on a number of OS-specific factors. While it's true that 90%+ of the games will work just fine on Windows 7 if you have your non-Unicode language set to Japanese, there are a small number (like this one) that won't work on non-Japanese operating systems without bypassing the "DRM". Games from Visual Art's are also notable for having the same sort of restrictions.

That is fallout over that whole Rapelay fiasco a few years ago, though Minori is being hypocritical as they seem to be one of the most anti foreign publishers and then complain about the sales.

BTW The prices might be another problem of theirs.
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Ojamajo LimePie



Joined: 09 Nov 2007
Posts: 707
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:43 am Reply with quote
One thing that could help the price problem is to change the packaging. Right now, visual novels are packaged in a variety of different styles and sizes of cardboard boxes with cd jewel cases inside. There's no industry standard size and some of the boxes can be HUGE. All of this must cost money. It would save VN companies money if everyone used DVD cases, or even agreed on a standard box size.
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Blood-
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Joined: 07 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:55 am Reply with quote
divinicide wrote:
Somewhere in the world, Keima (TWGOK) is crying.


Laughing

I'm not into Bishojo games but I read the article because it was news to me that the industry is in decline. Although I am not personally affected, it leaves me a bit uneasy since a shrinking bishojo playing population probably mirrors a shrinking anime-buying population in Japan which does affect me. The otaku industries in Japan do not seem to be laying the groundwork for future growth.
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