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Shall We Date? Blood in Roses+ & NTT Solmare's Despicable Business Model (Predatory Mobile VN Review)




I’ll be completely honest: I didn’t have a good opinion of NTT Solmare even before approaching the game this review is about. After exploring their sole non-otome visual novel, Moe! Ninja Girls, I was absolutely stunned with the predatory monetisation and poor quality of that title. I was still curious about their otome projects though and decided to check out one featuring the theme I personally enjoy a lot: vampires. Thus, I ended up playing Blood in Roses+, one of the over 20(!) games in the Shall We Date? series and what I found there was an extension of my Moe! Ninja Girl experience, along with some interesting surprises (which doesn’t mean any of them were particularly pleasant).

                First, however, a bit of context is required. NTT Solmare is a Japanese company producing e-books and mobile games primarily for the Western market. Shall We Date? Otome games are their flagship product and can be split into two categories: paid apps, which are mostly Android/iOS, English-localized ports of Idea Factory otome VNs and free apps which are produced by NTT Solmare themselves. Since 2011, they’ve released literally dozens of cheaply-made, but aggressively monetized games, particularly in the free-to-play segment. This is also the category where Blood in Roses+ fits in, being a fully free-to-play mobile VN, in which you can theoretically experience an impressive and constantly-expanding pool of content without paying anything. There’s a catch though… Or a dozen, which are all worth discussing in detail due to the unbelievable abuse of the VN format they represent.

Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com


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32 minutes ago, Emi said:

The typical cursed monetization version that all of them start using nowdays due to it earning them tons of money. 

this whaling have started get issues in pc market with lootboxes and so, but the mobile market are free to allowed to make it worse. even tho the mobile market  gain ALOT more money on it. they give you awards for a certain amount of time to get you feel invested and forced to pay. wich sadly many do. they´ve "invested" 2 weeks on it so. 

but yea, i agree. its horrible. i would stay away from any Shall we date? game. 

Peeking at unfinished posts and pre-release comments, such abuse of admin powers. ;p

Seriously though, I was really shocked how you can monetize a VN when I encountered Moe! Ninja Girls. I kind of expected their otome to be similar, but they somehow manage to be even worse... Masterclass con-artists, truly. And the otome community is kind of desensitized to it, so it felt right to remind everyone how f**** up it is and warn those that didn't have the displeasure of encountering these games by themselves. :>

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On 8/16/2019 at 1:39 PM, Plk_Lesiak said:

And the otome community is kind of desensitized to it

No kidding.

Cybird is considered the best of the F2P otome mobage companies (Ikemen Sengoku is particularly popular for whatever reason), but honestly, their practices are basically the same as Solmare's--the text just reads better.

I used to play a few of those games. Spent some money on them, too. Midnight Cinderella and Destined to Love from Cybird and The Niflheim from NTT Solmare were my main ones, though there were a few others I played. Eventually I realized that I was opening the apps every five hours on the dot to do princess lessons or whatever...and for what? Drips of stories that weren't very good in the first place. I wasn't having fun, it had just become a routine. Plus, as the apps get older, events become harder and harder to complete, basically encouraging people who didn't spend or who only spend a little to temporarily become whales so they can get the same ranking they're used to having.

I'm not a fan.

I haven't given up F2P entirely. I enjoyed several Mystic Messenger routes (hence why my flairs in both r/otomegames and r/visualnovels are Jaehee...) and I have a soft spot for Voltage USA's Lovestruck stories even though I don't like the "paid choices" mechanic (the way they do it is the least bad I've seen, though--but I miss when they were pay-per-route...). In general, though, F2P is basically a race to the bottom when it comes to providing the least amount of content for the most amount of money.

ETA: This thread from r/otomegames might be an interesting read: "To those who spent money on otome games: do you have buyer's remorse or are you happy with your purchases?"

ETA2: I wrote a really long comment about otome mobage monetization on the r/otomegames post about this...post.

Edited by lunaterra
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