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BunnyAdvocate

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BunnyAdvocate last won the day on October 12

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About BunnyAdvocate

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  1. Halloween VN poll

    The results of our Halloween poll are up! The top 10 voted spooky VNs are up here along with our VN recommendations that range from the comedic to the existential-angst inducing~ Thank you to everyone who took part in the poll, and thank you for all your suggestions! We didn't manage to squeeze in all of them, but we tried to include at least one suggestion from everyone who recommended some.
  2. Halloween VN poll

    Ah thanks, I'll add it to the list of contenders.
  3. Halloween VN poll

    Yeah I found KQ quite disappointing. After spending the intro explaining all these elaborate rules and complex individual objective system, it just basically throws it all away. It could have been really good. I've heard the remake Secret Game is much better in that regard, but I've not read it. Ah thanks, I'll add it to the list of contenders.
  4. Halloween VN poll

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'm not sure yet how much of an untranslated section we'll have, but I'll keep Sayonara o Oshiete in mind if we do. Killer Queen was a pretty fun Battle Royale, I just wish the improved remake Secret Game got a translation.
  5. Halloween VN poll

    I considered adding Cartagra, but as we already had Kara no Shoujo, I thought that might be enough as it's all the same series. I'll look into it for the longer list on Friday though.
  6. Halloween VN poll

    This VN? While the bunny outfit does mean it warrants an automatic 10/10 from me, I wasn't sure if it was a scary/halloween themed story? It looks more a winter theme.
  7. Halloween VN poll

    Yeah Saya no Uta is deeply unsettling with how it makes horrendous acts seem so rational in their own way. SubaHibi seems a good suggestion, I'll make sure it's on our list~
  8. Halloween VN poll

    We considered adding DDLC, but we figured that at this point everyone and their mother has heard about DDLC so there wouldn't be much point listing it on a recommendation site.
  9. Halloween VN poll

    With Halloween fast approaching, we thought it'd be fun to create a list of VNs that fit the season on the Fuwanovel VN rec site. We're creating a list of suggestions and we'd be interested in any ideas anyone has, but we're also interested in the communities' collective opinion and put up a VN poll asking which VNs you think are the spookiest~ The poll is going to be up until the end of the week, with the results posted this Friday evening.
  10. Analysing EVN and JVN fans on Steam

    JPVN works pretty well, I like that. I also wanted a shorter term for the free VN category, but I didn't want to add yet another acronym like FVN.
  11. The state of VNs on Steam

    Thanks Poltroon, I was a little confused by all the reply notifications I was getting on something unrelated to the analysis post.
  12. To what extent do JVN and EVN fans on Steam overlap? How many VNs do they buy? Who spends more? Which fandom is more elitist? As an update to my last analysis post on VN sales on Steam, I trawled 100k Steam profiles to find out. Here are my results~ Data collection and definitions Using the Steam API, I checked over a million steam profiles and collected public game lists on just under 100k users. I then used Steam's "Visual Novel" tag to identify which of those games were VNs. As Steam tends to be more lax on its definition of what a VN is, I cross-referenced this with VNDB.org and only included those games that had a VNDB entry. VNs were then split into three categories: JVNs: non-free VNs created by a Japanese company. EVNs: non-free VNs created by a primarily English speaking developer. Free VNs: free VNs created by either a Japanese or English developer. Unlike the non-free categories, users are only counted as "owning" a free VN if they have logged some time playing it. Those of you who follow my twitter may notice a few of these graphs are different to what I teased earlier. When investigating the overlap between VNs, I consistently found one group of VNs that were an outlier in terms of their fanbase overlap with other VNs, their userbase size, and their average price. It was always the Chinese and Russian VNs. So in the interests of better analysing the English language VN fandom, I restricted the dataset to only those VNs developed originally in English or Japanese. Results Let’s start simple and just see how widespread we VN fans are on Steam: While VNs remain a niche, they seem to be widespread enough among the Steam userbase that most users should at least be familiar with what they are. EVNs are penetrating Steam better than JVNs, perhaps due to bundles and lower prices. But they’ve also been on Steam longer than JVNs, with Analogue: A Hate Story being released back in 2012. Overall, 37.9% of Steam users either own or have played a VN of some kind. But owning one VN doesn’t necessarily make you a fan, so let’s see how many VNs these users own. The dramatic drop for free VNs show how dependent it is on a few VNs that reach more mainstream attention. 26.5% of free VN users have only played Doki Doki Literature Club for example, and only 53.2% of free VN players have ever bought a VN. This suggests that free VNs might not be an effective strategy for promoting a later commercial release as so few of these users buy VNs. EVNs drop at a faster rate than JVNs, showing that EVNs’ wider userbase doesn’t necessarily mean they have more users who would identify as VN fans as they tend to only own a couple of VNs. However once we get past the casual crowd, we see EVN owners seem to be more prolific purchasers than JVN owners. EVN owners purchase more VNs on average (5+ EVN owners own 23.7 EVNs on average, whereas 5+ JVN owners own 17.1 JVNs each). This may be because there are 66% more commercial EVNs on Steam than commercial JVNs so there’s more to buy, and they cost far less (the average EVN is £7.31 vs £14.00 for JVNs). So let’s try comparing the average spent on VNs next. image These prices assume users paid full price so are overestimating the total spent, but the relative value between JVNs and EVNs should be fairly accurate. Here we can see the influence of those higher JVN prices. While EVN fans may buy more, they spend less. On average, EVN owners spend £60.87 while JVN owners spend £81.12. The richest 10% of spenders have a disproportionate influence on the industry, accounting for 60% of all EVN revenue and 53% of JVN revenue. This is broadly in line with the Steam average, where the top 10% of spenders account for 61% of all revenue. So far we’ve been treating JVN owners and EVN owners as distinct entities, as if they were two warring tribes. But are they actually the same users? Let’s investigate the overlap~ Given that 86% of free VNs currently on Steam are by English developers, I expected the free VN fanbase to overlap more with EVNs, but it’s actually JVN owners who play free VNs more frequently, as 62.1% of JVN owners play free VNs but only 52.9% of EVN owners do too. Perhaps it’s because there are more EVN owners who are only lightly into VNs so are less aware of other free VN releases. Equally surprising is how many JVN owners also own EVNs: 75.2%. Despite the reputation of JVNs being the elitist community, it’s EVNs owners who are less likely to try JVNs where only 52.4% of them own a JVN. "But what about bundles” I hear the comment sections cry. Perhaps some EVN/JVN owners just picked up one in a bundle and aren’t really fans of them? OK, let’s retry this overlap with only those users who have at least 5 EVNs/JVNs/Free VNs in their library. The biggest drop in size is the free VN category, who lose 88.5% of their users. Meanwhile, the overlap between EVN and JVN fans has only grown tighter; with 60.1% of those who own 5+ EVNs also owning at least 5 JVNs. So it doesn’t seem like bundles explain the strong overlap between JVN and EVN fans, but let’s try another test. If someone picked up a VN through a bundle that they aren’t interested in, they probably wouldn’t play it. So let’s try only counting VNs that have been played: There’s been a slight drop in how many JVN players also play EVNs, at 67.6%, but it’s still a significant overlap. So while bundles likely do inflate EVN numbers slightly, there’s no denying how linked the fandoms are. Overall, 59.3% of owned JVNs were played, while 56.2% of EVNs were. The lower EVN percentage is perhaps due to user’s owning more EVNs on average. Although both played stats were higher than the Steam average, where only 49.2% of owned games have any recorded playtime. So what explains the lingering lower JVN ownership among EVN fans? Are EVNs perhaps catering to a wider audience? One thing the EVN scene is known for it its profusion of otomes (VNs with a female protagonist pursuing male love interests), so let’s compare their overlap. Rather than being more insular, otome fans are even more willing to try VNs developed in another language, with 81.2% of EVN otome owners also owning a JVN, and 90.3% of JVN otome owners also owning EVNs. However the overlap between otomes fandoms is smaller than EVNs/JVNs overall (68.6% of JVN otome owners also own EVN otomes, and 37.9% of EVN otomes owners own a JVN otome). Something that especially stands out is just how many otome fans there are in the VN market. 33.1% of EVN owners and 42.1% of JVN owners own an otome. They make up a significant part of the fandom, but many online VN community hubs either ignore or are outright hostile to them. So it otome’s don’t explain the EVN/JVN gap, what does? To further investigate we’re going to need to delve into individual VN statistics and look through a lot of lists, so I’ll keep that for my next post in a week or two. Potential issues We’ve been basing these statistics on public user profiles, however only 7.4% of Steam users have their game list public. So it’s possible we’re undercounting the more casual userbase who are less likely to have configured their profile to be public. This has been an analysis of only Steam users, and while Steam is a major part of the game industry, it’s not the only source of VNs. JVN fans may prefer to stick with Mangagamer/Denpasoft etc, while EVN fans may prefer itch.io. So it’s possible the JVN/EVN fandom splits more than these figures would imply. Conclusion In my experience, the popular image of the VN fandom is of a male JVN elitist who hates EVNs and would never read an otome, but that really isn’t representative of the customer base. The majority of JVN fans also enjoy EVNs, the average JVN owner owns more EVNs (10.9) than JVNs (7.6). The same is true of EVN fans, who while preferring EVNS (8.5 owned on average) still frequently own JVNs (5.0 owned on average). So the canny VN developer would do well to advertise in both EVN and JVN fandom communities. --- I hope you enjoyed the analysis. Please let me know what you think and share any alternative theories you have on these stats. If you’re interested in more, check out my other posts on tumblr, watch for updates on my twitter, or give me a yell on Discord (Sunleaf_Willow /(^ n ^=)\#1616). Special thanks to /u/8cccc9, Part-time Storier, and Lunaterra for help with the analysis. I just do these analyses for fun, but if you want to support my work with a tip, I accept small donations at ko-fi.
  13. The state of VNs on Steam

    The only VN that seemed totally out of proportion with everything else was DDLC, which had almost twice as many owners as the next most common VN. Fortunately DDLC was a free VN so didn't factor into the EVN and JVN trends, as those included only commercial releases. Another VN that slipped through the cracks as Dies Irae. As it had a rather unique strategy of making the common route free, and then selling the endings as DLC. As the DLC didn't count as a steam app in itself, there aren't any stats available on the DLC sales. I only had how many played the free portion.
  14. The state of VNs on Steam

    The only outliers removed were DDLC and Emily is Away in one of the total review graphs. I was wary of removing any outliers without a clear definition of what is and isn't an outlier. It's a slippery slope once you start removing VNs, how far do you go? As it is, I think there are enough VNs in the dataset with moderate sales to balance out any outliers (there were around ~1000 VNs in there).
  15. The state of VNs on Steam

    I’ve recently read a few thoughtful discussion threads on the state of the VN market here in the West. Some taking a negative stance, some with a more positive outlook. I thought I’d try to put some numbers on these statements and look at VN ownership on Steam, still the predominant market for PC games, and use that to analyse whether VNs are on their true route or have stumbled into a bad end. Data collection I checked just over a million steam profiles to try and get a random sample of gamers. With Steam’s new private-by-default profile settings, only 8% of those users had public game lists, but that still gave us 80k user profiles to work with. I could then compare my sample with the “leaked” owner data and scale up my numbers accordingly to represent Steam as a whole. Steam is rather haphazard with what gets tagged as a Visual Novel (RPGMaker games like A Bird Story are tagged as VNs), so I’ll only be including games that also have a VNDB entry. Steam VN releases So let’s start simple, with a simple plot of how many VNs are being released each month. At first glance things seem rosy for VN fans, there have never been more VNs being released in the West. But let’s break down those results a bit: Note that these trends are cumulative but NOT stacked. The EVN, JVN, and other VNs trends include only non-free VNs. Here we can start to see the reason for the differing perspectives on the state of the VN market depending upon whether you read more JVNs or EVNs. While the rate of EVNs releases has steadily increased, the number of new JVNs has remained fairly static since 2016, despite Steam’s lowered release requirements. Steady release rates aren’t definitely bad news, but in general profitable industries want to expand, so the lack of expansion tells you something about the industry. But as someone with a plan-to-read list that grows longer by the day, I’m not complaining if the rate doesn’t increase. One under-reported development in the VN market is the recent rapid growth of Chinese VNs (listed as other here), who have quietly been doing well in their home markets, but are rarely translated. So while more VNs might be good for us fans, how does the market look for developers? Let’s have a look at VN sales. Note that these trends are cumulative but NOT stacked. All sales are back-dated to the release date of the VN on Steam. Free VNs count sales as the number of users who have logged some playtime in it. Unfortunately Steam’s API doesn’t list when someone bought a game, so we’ve got to group sales by the release date of the VN. That means there will be a bias towards older releases which have been out longer and so had more time to build up sales. Here we can see some justification for the doom and gloom perspectives, with more recent VN releases selling significantly less than older ones. With new JVNs in 2017 selling only half what they did in 2016. The EVN downward trend is especially stark given that the number of new releases has been increasing, so that’s less revenue split among even more VNs. Not all VNs are equal, some are priced higher, so let’s look at total revenue rather than total sales. Note that this assumes every user pays full price, so this is more the maximum possible revenue than actual revenue. Here we can see the difference between EVN and JVN markets. While JVNs sell only half as many as EVNs, they earn almost as much revenue due to their higher price. We again see the same dip in more recent revenue though, 2017 was only 46% of 2016′s revenue, and 2018 looks even worse so far. Remember, this fall in revenue coincidences with an increase in the total number of releases, so to fully comprehend the drop on revenue, let’s look at the average sales per VN. First, we should note that this massively overestimates the average revenue generated as it assumes every user pays full price. I know devs who would sell their soul for 282k per VN. Oh wait, they already did when they signed up for Steam... (just kidding, I do like Steam, but it has issues). The important aspect here isn’t the y-axis total which is unreliable, but the consistent downwards trend. But it might not be as bleak as it seems, older VNs are more likely to have been in bundles and in Steam sales, so their revenue is likely overestimated compared with more recent releases. So I’d be hesitant to claim that revenue is necessarily dropping, but I think we can confidently claim that revenue isn’t increasing. VN Reviews Nostalgia for a past golden age is common everywhere, not least among VN fans. It’s not uncommon to hear that newly released VNs aren’t as good as older ones, but can we get any empirical data on this point? We can get close by looking at the Steam reviews of VNs over time. Each dot represents the average thumbs up/down ratio for any VNs released that month. Within the JVN market, we can see some truth to the nostalgia viewpoint. Older releases were more consistently rated higher. But that isn’t to say there aren’t new highly rated JVNs. They still maintain enviously high scores overall. As for EVNs, while they had consistently scored lower than JVNs, they’re catching up and are now pretty comparable in review ratings of JVNs. Just for fun, let’s see how the total review count compares between VNs. The two free-VN spikes are for Emily is Away and DDLC. As I’m sure anyone familiar with the VN community can tell you, JVN fans are vocal, and it shows in the total reviews VNs get. Despite there being only half as many JVNs as EVNs, they still attract more reviews than EVNs do. This is perhaps because JVNs are typically far longer than EVNs, so might be worth the time of writing a review. What free-VN fans lack in the wallet, they make up for in their word-count. Although this is massively skewed by two free VNs which compromise 70% of all free-VN reviews: Emily is Away and DDLC. They seem anomalies rather than trends. As shown by the graph when we exclude those two: *Excluding Emily is Away and DDLC. Despite the drop in position, free-VNs still out-perform what we’d expect given their lower count of total owners, but that may be because EVN and JVN totals include users who own the VN but have never read it. Whereas the free-VN total only includes those who have logged playtime in that VN, so there’s a larger pool of possible reviewers. Potential Issues There are a few sources of uncertainty in the dataset. The selection of users who have set their profiles to public might not be representative of the wider Steam userbase. It probably undercounts more casual fans who are less likely to configure their Steam profile. We also don’t know when someone purchased a VN, so it’s possible VN sales are increasing, but a lot of that money is going to older releases, especially if they’re in bundles and Steam sales. In inclusion of VNs in game bundles may be distorting the image of the VN fandom, as it’ll include those who have little interest in the medium and only own a VN by happenstance. We should also remember that “Steam” is not synonymous with the VN market. There are plenty of competitors in the VN scene, namely Mangagamer and itch.io, who tend to cater to different tastes than Steam does. So we’re only getting a partial picture of the Western VN scene. Conclusion There’s data here to support both the optimistic and pessimistic commentary. On the positive side, there have never been more VNs being released as there are now. EVNs are improving with higher average ratings and a few have reached mainstream attention. On the pessimistic side, it seems like there are ever more VNs competing for a fanbase that isn’t significantly growing. While I’d be wary of claiming profits are falling, it seems highly likely they aren’t increasing, and a stagnant market is not a healthy one. Personally, I think the future is bright. While VNs might not be destined to become blockbuster successes, there is enough of sustainable fanbase to support lots of indie developers, who are the most prone to innovate and write interesting new stories. As a VN fan, I’m excited to see what comes next~ --- I hope you found the article interesting. I had wanted to include a section analysing the Steam users, how many VNs do JVN fans purchase compared to EVN fans etc. But I want to spend a little longer going into more depth on it, so I’ll have a post up next week on that. If you’re interested in more until then, check out my other tumblr analysis posts, look out for updates on my twitter, or give me a yell on Discord (Sunleaf_Willow /(^ n ^=)\#1616). Special thanks to /u/8cccc9 for collaborating on the analysis, and Part-time Storier for proof-reading. I just do these analyses for fun, but if you want to support my work with a tip, I accept small donations at ko-fi.
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