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  1. Like
    Zalor reacted to BunnyAdvocate in 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.

    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.
  2. Thanks
    Zalor got a reaction from Okarin in Your Diary Release, True or Not?   
  3. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Flutterz in Your Diary Release, True or Not?   
  4. Like
    Zalor reacted to ittaku in Summer Pockets English Translation   
    For future reference, unfortunately you're also going about this all wrong. Without a translator your project is doomed. Find a translator that's interested in a VN first before even announcing a project. They're the rarest commodity in these projects and you almost never get people putting their hand up for something you're interested in; it's the other way around - the translator needs to be interested in something and the group should form around them.
  5. Like
    Zalor reacted to Chronopolis in Hero's Journey in VNs   
    Well, if you have a story focused on a hero, and then add in the presence of deities, then it very likely becomes a hero's journey. And about the hero's legacy, we humans often seek an explanation or purpose in the world, and adding a legacy that provides meaning for the hero's sacrifice/triumph does this.
  6. Like
    Zalor reacted to Radi in Synergia [Cyberpunk] [Yuri]   
    Yep! I post stuff fron the game from time to time in my twitter account, here you have it: https://twitter.com/BloodDaughters Also I hope you like the rest of the game as much as the aesthetics haha
    Aww, thank you, I'm glad you like it that much!! 
  7. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Radi in Synergia [Cyberpunk] [Yuri]   
    I think I was one of those people lol.
    This is my most anticipated VN. I'm really glad to hear that the progress is going well.
  8. Like
    Zalor reacted to Dergonu in Hero's Journey in VNs   
    I'd say it's at least intermediate. The fight scenes can prove especially tricky, so I wouldn't recommend it to a beginner. That being said, if you really want to read it, there is no harm in checking out the trial to gauge whether or not you'd be able to comprehend the rest of the game at your current level.
    Akabeisoft is quite annoying, as they block IPs that aren't Japanese from accessing their website, but you can still download the game's trial from sites that sells the game, like Getchu. (Just hit the "体験版DL" button on this site.)
  9. Like
    Zalor reacted to Plk_Lesiak in Synergia [Cyberpunk] [Yuri]   
    That sounds great, I've talked with a few people in the past months wondering what happened to this project, it's really nice to hear it's back on track. Do you have a Twitter or any other place where you post updates beyond here and Lemmasoft Forums?
    Damn, this looks fine too. I guess good aesthetic isn't everything, but the more I see the more exciting this one gets. It can't be a bad sign. :3
  10. Like
    Zalor reacted to Radi in Synergia [Cyberpunk] [Yuri]   
    Yes! The project is 100% alive. Sorry about the lack of updates, I went through some health problems last year so the development stopped, but I'm back at it now yay! The script is fully translated and edited, the base coding and GUI are done and the ost is being worked on. Right now I'm already implementing the script so I could even release a demo already, a part of the game is playable. That being said, there will be a bit more time of silence until Synergia is closer to its release. Hopefully that will happen soon! Also thank you for the support! As a little extra, check out the main menu: 

  11. Like
    Zalor reacted to Dergonu in Hero's Journey in VNs   
    Hmm, I'd say Ryuu Kishi Bloody Saga fits pretty well in a lot of ways. Most of the points are pretty spot on, honestly. While not all of them play into the "journey" directly, most of what goes on in Roy's mind, and the way he changes through the game very much follows that structure.
    It's a pretty underrated game in my opinion. Definitely worth checking out.
  12. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Dreamysyu in Hero's Journey in VNs   
    What VNs have you noticed can be broken down into the structure of the Hero's Journey? If so, which elements of the Hero's journey are most present? I don't think most follow the structure exactly, but I'm willing to bet that a decent amount of story based VNs follow the structure loosely. Particularly Chuunige. 
    I would argue in a very roundabout way Suba Hibi follows the general structure. There is a call to adventure (going down the rabbit hole). Delving into the unknown. A road of trails
    And the achievement of the freedom to live (幸福に生きよ!)
  13. Like
    Zalor reacted to spidey94 in I'm a background artist looking for job   
    Hi, folks.
    I used to be a bg artist for an anime outsource company, now I just want to do some freelance jobs 
    I would like to draw bg on some VN's projects.
    Here's my old stuff I did in for the company : https://www.flickr.com/gp/75976495@N06/0Zm21g
    Correct me if I'm wrong, honestly I do not know where to post this. 
    Depend on the resolution, complex and detailed.

    - Normal Backgrounds (1920x1080) : $60 - $80 usd
    - Detailed Backgrounds (1920x1080) : $100 - $120 usd

    This price is only for Visual novel background.

    I currently only accept Paypal payments. And please, you'll pay the Paypal fee.

    My process is :
    - Normally, you can give me some reference image like sketchs, real pictures, some info about the color style you want, the more details the shorter time 'til work done.
    - When I finish , I'll send you a small sample for you check. If everything is ok, I'll send you full pic(png,jpg...) upon you payment for me.

    I reserve the right to use it for my portfolio or post it on social media.

    If you are interested my artwork, contact me through: 
    - Email shikitomoya0908@gmail.com. 
    - Discord : Shiki#3061

    Looking forward working with you guy.
  14. Like
    Zalor reacted to tymmur in Does anybody know how to write a point-and-click adventure game?   
    Point and click adventure is not really VNs, but whatever. The question is interesting nonetheless and could be interesting for VN creators as well in case they want to make a heavily branching plot.
    Sadly I'm not sure I can come up with a simple solution. The best thing I can think for getting an overview of something this complex would be a database. Think something like VNDB. You can enter a VN and in that VN you can get a list of characters. You can then enter a character and get a list of VNs where that character is mentioned. You should build up something similar with quests and characters. Perhaps add a third entity for items, allowing specific items to be used in multiple quests. Build the game, have notes for each quest and character and once quests are well defined, you will have the ability to look up a quest and see all the interesting points in that quest, possibly with notes about order. You can also look up a character and get a list of quests that characters should take part in, which is the first step in planning a dialogue tree.
    Another interesting point is that you should plan dialogue trees rather than dialogues. It seems you have different text depending on event flags. You should know the branching layout, possibly make notes about what topics to touch in each branch and then the last step is to fill out the details of each branch.
    The most important issue with designing is to only try to accomplish one thing at a time. Do not try to design quest, dialogue tree and dialogue in the same step because you will end up focusing on one of those and sacrifice the other two and you will end up with two or three of those three parts being messed up.
    I can't really answer the question of which software to use. I wrote that it is supposed to do, but I can't think of anything, which delivers such a functionality and telling you to code something from scratch is likely not a useful approach either.
  15. Like
    Zalor reacted to Radi in Synergia [Cyberpunk] [Yuri]   
    Wow, thank you for such a well thought, insightful comment. I really appreciate that the new trailer had such a good effect on your opinion. I hope you will enjoy future info, trailers, the demo and of course the final game as well!
  16. Like
    Zalor reacted to Narcosis in How can we make visual novels more popular in the west?   
    The sad truth is, where porn or fanservice aren't involved, those games aren't popular either. VNs are mostly about reading and no one really reads nowadays, especially gamers; the reading rates have been constantly dropping across the world. When you compare the sales numbers of popular games like Nekopara and story-driven, plot-heavy all-ages titles you will see they barely sell at all; no matter how good they are and how well praised they get by critics, Steam curators and gaming websites, they won't ever be able to fight with those. It's another reason why we get so little of them and what gets translated nowadays are typically light charage and moege instead.
    VNs are destined to remain a niche and interesting vns will always be a niche within a niche. It's because the population those games were once directed at is actually declining and new generation that's ought to replace it remains completely different.
  17. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Deep Blue in MILF But who doesnt have massive ta-ta's   
    That's funny, the old look is exactly why I do want to read it.
  18. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from mitchhamilton in MILF But who doesnt have massive ta-ta's   
    That's funny, the old look is exactly why I do want to read it.
  19. Like
    Zalor reacted to Deep Blue in MILF But who doesnt have massive ta-ta's   
    I can only think about this 2 games right now: (with a mother as main heroine with normal tits and yet not a pure nukige)
    if you have issues "buying"  them let me know 
  20. Like
    Zalor reacted to Conjueror in Best translation for CROSS CHANNEL?   
    This topic is so depressing, lol.
  21. Thanks
    Zalor got a reaction from HataVNI in Discord Server - Visual Novel Info Hub   
    Wow, Google Translate really does work much better with German than with Japanese. Looks like you got a cool community there. I'm not a Discord (or any IRC) user, but I support your goal in popularizing VNs!
  22. Like
    Zalor reacted to HataVNI in Discord Server - Visual Novel Info Hub   
    Hello, hello my fellow Fuwa'ers,

    My name is Hata,
    I've been allowed this post by Dergonu

    Would you like to join our visual novel community? We are a small group of German people, that had the dream of popularizing visual novels in the west, same as you do. As we are currently expanding and exceeding 300 members in discord, of which quite a lot are active daily, we are finally trying to find some people from this particular community. We are a German website called Visual-novel.info. The domain for the site is http://www.visual-novel.info and we are posting several news, trivia, reviews (fairly extensive ones) and other stuff there. Our goal thus far has been to popularize the genre in Europe and especially Germany. We are also cooperating with Sciadv sites like Kirikiribasara and Japanese publishers like Chloro (2236 A.D) and Studiopolaris.jp . Since the website is completely German and for the time being will stay German, the least of you might feel interested enough in that. I've been told it is quite readable with Google Translate though but doing that would require some dedication  

    But since we started expanding towards the further areas namely America and Japan via our discord server https://discordapp.com/invite/gtNRnbe we grew substantially and it evolved into a very nice place for people to gather, discuss, theorize and talk about their brightest and darkest eroge fantasies without getting judged. The server is as international as it gets with [EN/GER/日本語] because we split it into three language sections which are thriving to get equally populated. We also hold discussions about the currently released games and events. You can also learn japanese from natives and capable learners for your own enjoyment and going towards mastery for your own JoP needs!
    If you are interested in talks about VN and Eroge or all the other games from glorious 日本 I'd be pleased if you gave us a chance and joined the server.

    Lastly, I also want to mention, that there are quite a few company affiliates active on the server of publishers and KS/Indie and we are always eager to sort more potential visual novel enthusiasts into the mix.
    This causes that the conversations don't really stay shallow, as we are very dedicated and passionate people. Also FanTLers are welcome to talk in private rooms about their stuff.

    I hope you'll enjoy your time at our place. (`・ω・´)ゞ

    Link to the server: https://discordapp.com/invite/gtNRnbe
    Social Media: http://www.twitter.com/BishoujoNEWS
  23. Like
    Zalor reacted to Stormwolf in What are the things that you hate the most in VNs?   
    Most archetypes (modern tsundere and loli especially), terrible and predictable writing and story direction, unimaginative cg's which could just as well have been taken out from other vn's, utterly useless protagonists without a real personality, school setting......, too long common routes, protagonist acts like an asexual throughout the common route before he bursts out (i love you > kiss > sex) within the span of five minutes somewhere in the heroine route
    There are probably quite a few more which i can't think of atm.
  24. Like
    Zalor reacted to Funyarinpa in What are the things that you hate the most in VNs?   
    Moege archetypes.
    They all act, look and sound incredibly fake to me.
  25. Like
    Zalor reacted to Ranzo in 10 reasons real life is like terrible kusoge   
    Sounds like you need to git gud scrub!
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