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My Rant About Sekai Project And Their Unending Stream of Lies, Scams and Other Deceitful Schemes


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If you would check my Kickstarter profile you would notice that I have been supporting the localization Visual Novel effort since it's beginnings on Kickstarter with The Grisaia Trilogy and The Clannad Crowdfunding campaigns being the first things that I have ever backed on Kickstarter, since I was eager to see more Visual Novels translated in english, I have spent thousands of dollars in the last few years on supporting pretty much every major japanese VN crowdfunding campaign since the beginning of the trend. However as these localization companies grow, they get more and more bold with their schemes, false advertisements, cheatings, lies and coy word play which in the ends result in them royally screwing over the very same people that helped these localization companies grow as big as they are now. I would prefer to say nothing and just keep things as they are now, but I feel that if I did that these companies would see that they can get away with this and grow bolder and bolder with their schemes aimed at screwing over their customers out of their money for all they are worth, so they need to be called out on it and since no one seem to have noticed and/or mentioned this and I feel that at least someone has to do it.

 

Sekai Project's False Advertising Scam and Creating Demand Schemes:

Sekai Project had recently launched another Kickstarter Campaign, this time it was for A Clockwork Ley-Line Trilogy, on this Kickstarter the only way to get a physical edition of the Trilogy was to pay a minimum of 135 USD, it is a similar system to what they used for their ChronoClock Kickstarter Campaign which was the first Sekai Project Kickstarter Campaign where they finally dropped the false pretenses of it being for the sake of the game localization and more for the sake of manufacturing physical goods, in the Clockwork Ley-Line Trilogy Kickstarter you could get a I quote "The Physical Limited Edition" for a premium price of 135 USD not any less, the 135 USD tier is a tier that include both digital copies and physical copies of the rewards, HOWEVER, the I quote "Physical Limited Edition" could not be obtained as stand-alone, they were exclusives to these higher premium tiers and were exclusively sold bundled together with digital codes, which brought the price to a minimum of 135 USD for a I quote "Physical Limited Edition".

A few people had (rightfully) complained about this in the past and mentioned how it was not fair to keep the Physical Edition exclusively bundled together with digital which raised the price by x2 and how a choice should be offered to backers who only wanted a physical edition without any of the digital rewards, to which Sekai Project basically replied to them that they should go take a hike and they they wouldn't change anything and that if they wanted a physical edition it was 135 USD+ or nothing.

The Clockwork Ley-Line Trilogy raised a total of 135,430 USD during a 31 days Kickstarter Campaign, which ended on the 19th March 2017 (less than a month ago), however unlike usually it seems that Sekai Project has gone into a new direction unlike before and decided to open an Store Page on the Backerkit Pre-order Store for A Clockwork Ley-Line Trilogy.

See here, Backerkit Preorder Store: sJKxbFh.png

Now look here on the original Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign page: XV8huwX.png

You would notice the following things:

- On Kickstarter it was only sold for 135 USD minimum bundled together with digital codes, On the Backerkit Store it is sold stand-alone for only 75 USD.

- On Kickstarter it was advertised as a "Limited Edition", on the Backerkit Store the words "Limited Edition" have been completely removed, yet according to the description it is the same physical set of the trilogy in a slipcase.

This is what is called a "False Advertising", by falsely putting the words "Limited Edition" next to a non-Limited Edition they would create more demand for it and as such garner more money even though their intention is to keep making money on their Backerkit Store by having it readily available for purchase in a non-limited capacity, this is called "Artificial Creating Demand", see this example to easily understand this scam:

 

That's basically what Sekai Project has sold you on Kickstarter if you backed for their "Limited Edition" of a Clockwork Ley-Line which was "Limited" in name only and for a limited time, the only thing "limited" about it is the limited amount of time it took for it to lose it's status of "Limited Edition" (only after they got their 135k from the Kickstarter funds mind you) as you saw on it's Backerkit Pre-order Store.

Some info on the Backerkit Preorder Store https://www.backerkit.com/preorder_projects

What they don't tell you is that the "Backerkit Pre-order Store" is a "Pre-order store" in name only, as it is not restricted to only preorder projects, no, even if something has been released years ago you can still let your Backerkit Pre-order Store Page open for business for an indefinite amount of time no matter how long ago the project has already been done with and released. So if Sekai Project wanted, they could use Backerkit as their very own cheap Online Store to sell their fake "Limited Editions" in a seemingly inexhaustible numbers of supply for an indefinite amount of time.

So basically here you see that Sekai Project royally screwed over their Kickstarter physical backers (the very same people that made their Kickstarter a success), by lying and selling to them a non-Limited Edition as a "Limited Edition" and by overcharging these same Kickstarter Backers a minimum of 135 USD for a physical edition, while they now offer the same physical edition on their Backerkit Store for only 75 USD.

I urge everyone who backed the A Clockwork Ley-Line Kickstarter for a physical "Limited Edition" to send a message to Sekai Project to request a refund here: support@sekaiproject.com

Unless off course you like being overcharged and taken for a fool.

 

Sekai Project And Frontwing Screwing Over The Grisaia Trilogy Kickstarter Physical Backers:

As you probably know, we now are going to have 2 different Grisaia Boxset in english, not one, but two. However one is clearly inferior to the other as I will explain in a few line below, now it's been confirmed that Frontwing will release an English version of the Grisaia Complete Box, which basically screws over every one of the Backers that backed Grisaia Physical Kickstarter in Q4 2014-Q1 2015,

So who's to blame for this? Frontwing? Sekai Project? Both of them? Who knows, but Sekai Project shares the blame in this as they are the holders of the license and only they could give the greenlight to Frontwing for producing physical copies of the Complete Box and so they did even though they damn well knew that if they did this, that it would instantly screw over the thousands of Grisaia Trilogy Kickstarter Backers who have as of yet not even received 3/4 of the physical game rewards.

Why is this situation so bad? I will let you judge for yourself:

Frontwing 2017 Boxset:

 

Sekai Project 2014 Boxset:

So what happens now:

1. Thousands of Grisaia Trilogy Kickstarter Backers are now going to be stuck with to the clearly shittier Sekai Project Boxset compared to the Frontwing Boxset.

2. Thousands of Grisaia Trilogy Kickstarter Backers have as of yet only received only 1 (Fruit) of the physical game out of the 4 (Labynrinth, Eden, ChiruChiru Michiru)

3. The Frontwing Boxset has about 14 different goods included (including the high quality collector's box), while the Sekai Project Boxset has only the measly DVD physical games cases in a flimsy DVD Boxset.

4. The Frontwing Boxset will be 18+, While the Sekai Project Boxset was censored.

5. Now that the Frontwing Boxset has been announced this has totally devalued the Sekai Project Boxset to nothing and made it worthless.

6. Because of point "5.", thousands of Backers are now stuck with the Sekai Project Boxset that they will never be able to sell off, especially if they wish to upgrade to the clearly superior Frontwing Boxset, because who will now pay hundreds of dollars for the Sekai Project Boxset now that there is going to be a Frontwing Boxset that is clearly superior in every way?

7. Frontwing has shown a complete lack of professionalism and care by basically telling their gaijin customers to buy again and again different versions of Grisaia Boxsets because "That's as good as it's going to get for non-japanese" to only release new ones who were better than the last, some people had to buy Grisaia Boxsets 3 times between 2014 and now (Sekai Project 2014 Boxset, Japanese 2017 Frontwing Boxset Provided by Frontwing who used J-List as their very own online store, English 2017 Frontwing Boxset who will use Backerkit as their own Online Store). This sort of unprofessional behavior certainly wouldn't fly in Japan as it would have been called out real quick in the otaku eroge gamers circles and would have ruined the reputation of said infringing companies, but they do it here because they know they can get away with it in gaijinland. In retrospect, there is only ONE Grisaia Boxset in Japan that was produced in an actual limited quantity.

 

I am not gonna lie, I am not crazy about the physical library of titles from MangaGamer or JAST, but at least these have never tried to royally screw over so horribly their customers like Sekai Project does and I never had any problems with the few times I dealt with them.

Edited by Nier
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Title could be longer tbh, you're losing your touch

...more seriously that sucks I guess, but I really don't give much of a shit about physicals so I can't relate. I probably would feel more sympathy if your post wasn't so blatantly sensationalistic. You know you've taken a wrong turn somewhere when you're actually going above sanahtlig level, and he can actually sort of handle it.

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20 minutes ago, Zenophilious said:

There's a valid point in there, yes, but most of the post is sensationalist trash meant to rile people up.  It's rife with speculation and assumptions, and is extremely opinionated.

Don't see anything he's wrong with pointing at, though. It's obviously clear now SP turned into a bunch of corporate leechs that care little about their consumer base. We're on a shitty internet forum, for god's sake; there's no point in calling this "sensationalist trash" and we're talking about people who literally got screwed over hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. I myself would feel extremely cheated, to say the least and this gives me no more actual reasons to support them anymore, mostly because I can get - actually, I am sure I will - obtain the goods I want at a later date, without a hassle and propably of much better value. Which instantly brings us to the beginning - why even support them right from the start in the first place?

That aside, I'm also concerned with the ammount of games they are currently trying to push through the whole crowdfunding process. This short period of time saw more games being prepared for release, than throughout the whole previous years. Can they even actually handle it? Won't it affect the quality of both products and customer handling?

Edited by Narcosis
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36 minutes ago, Narcosis said:

Don't see anything he's wrong with pointing at, though. It's obviously clear now SP turned into a bunch of corporate leechs that care little about their consumer base. We're on a shitty internet forum, for god's sake; there's no point in calling this "sensationalist trash" and we're talking about people who literally got screwed over hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. I myself would feel extremely cheated, to say the least and this gives me no more actual reasons to support them anymore, mostly because I can get - actually, I am sure I will - obtain the goods I want at a later date, without a hassle and propably of much better value. Which instantly brings us to the beginning - why even support them right from the start in the first place?

It's fine, I deserve that much for being a dumb fanboy who just went around defending Sekai Project and co., you guys were right all along.

I don't think too many people noticed the situation issue with the A Clockwork Ley-Line (though I have seen a few perplexed people on the comment section of the Kickstarter wondering how it went from 135 USD to 75 USD), but regarding the Grisaia Physical I am just one among the thousands who got screwed over for hundreds of dollars worth:

Quote
 

 

 

Quote

 

I tried to get in contact with both Frontwing and Sekai Project about this debacle, but I am basically only getting robotic PR replies, with Sekai Project telling me to go complain about it to Frontwing and Frontwing tells me to go complain about it to Sekai Project.

Edited by Nier
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32 minutes ago, Nier said:

I tried to get in contact with both Frontwing and Sekai Project about this debacle, but I am basically only getting robotic PR replies, with Sekai Project telling me to go complain about it to Frontwing and Frontwing tells me to go complain about it to Sekai Project.

Sounds familiar to me :makina:

I have no idea what's going on between SP and Frontwing, but it clearly shows their lack of proper communication... unless one of them is screwing over another (Frontwing?).

Regarding CE's - in a normal case, when a publisher gets hold on exclusive rights to release a product within certain boundaries, he makes sure the said product will be definite... which seems to not be the case regarding Grisaia. How is that even possible? Should we blame Frontwing for being greedy, or is it perhaps Sekai Project's fault for showing (yet again) a complete lack of professionalism?

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4 minutes ago, Kiriririri said:

lol buying the same shit over and over again is how the otaku market works even in japan

Except we're not Japan, that's the difference and one of the reasons, they are propably surprised. Or at least will be, if this continues. We have the right to demand quality products for our money's worth and this kind of behaviour SP presented is unacceptable, especially if you pay hundreds of dollars for a Collector's Edition.

Edited by Narcosis
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3 minutes ago, Narcosis said:

Except we're not Japan, that's the difference and one of the reasons, they are propably surprised. Or at least will be, if this continues. We have the right to demand quality products for our money's worth and this kind of behaviour SP presented is unacceptable, especially if you pay hundreds of dollars for a Collector's Edition.

But he said this doesn't happen in Japan when it clearly does.

Edited by Kiriririri
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SP is/was/and always will be in for the money first and the fans will in 99/100 cases get the sour apple. They took the path of least resistance (a.k.a. quick money and DGAF about what those "fans" or "supporters" say) and it works, and well, they aren't wrong. There will always another horny pre-teenager that will buy their games in hope of animu pr0n. And if you look at steam THOSE GUYS  are where the money is. Throw in a few cheap OELVN and some games that appeal to those that had contact with VNs before the golden(-painted shit) age of steam and try to milk those guys (a.k.a. us) as much as you can (since let's be honest, the fan TL scene was killed by sekai and thus they can do whatever they want as jast is as fast as a killed zombie and MG is still working to ge rid of their image as pron-only supplier) and 1,2,3 PROFIT.


If SP tells you something just

Spoiler

Don't believe his lies

 

Edited by Prinny
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1 hour ago, Kiriririri said:

But he said this doesn't happen in Japan when it clearly does.

When games releases in Japan typically it goes like this:

- First Print Limited Edition

With either a same day or Few weeks/months/years later release for a:

- Standard Edition

Some games get only a First Print Limited Edition (see Comyu), while some other games only get a Standard Edition (see Ikikoi).

Japan only has ONE Grisaia Boxset as I mentioned before.

Edited by Nier
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Well, the reason why most of people always quite apathetic and dismissive toward both of Sekai and Frontwing was just like what did you said. By the way, while the reason that you stated was valid, I think the issue from both of them (Both of Frontwing and Sekai) was already debated several times at this site or VNDB there (Also maybe at reddit as well). In the end, what I would say here is that it's consumer choice to think of how to deal with this.

PS - To be honest, in regard of Grisaia I tempted to write something like 'Blame the Phantom Trigger backer to allow Frontwing bring Complete Box edition' for the people who felt scorned by Sekai's campaign of Grisaia lol (Never mind, I'd already wrote that).

Edited by littleshogun
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Absurd Difference in Quality and Pricing Between Their Clannad Physical And The Rest:

For all the Kickstarters and IndieGogo Sekai Project did, there is not much to show in terms of rewards that was delivered, I have almost backed every crowdfunding campaigns Sekai Project did and so far after thousands of dollars spent I only have Clannad, 1/4 of the Grisaia Boxset and Root Double to show for it.

Here we compare Grisaia DVD Boxset quality to Texhnolyze DVD Boxset:

Comparison Pic 1: luxlu4H.jpg

The Texhnolyze DVD Boxset is very sturdy while the Sekai Project Grisaia Boxset is flimsy and of low quality (especially for that price) also even though the Texhnolyze DVD Boxset is very sturdy for good measure a solid Styrofoam block was also added to prevent the DVD Boxset from getting bent since the boxset was only bundled with volume 1, while the rest of the space is empty: TTNtQ7I.jpg

While the Sekai Project Grisia DVD Boxset "anti-bent protection measures" consist simply of a thin and flimsy piece of cardboard layer: dcxmFgH.jpg

Styrofoam blocks must be too expensive for Sekai Project... And a low quality DVD Boxset with a set of cheap black DVD cases is apparently worth hundreds of dollars! There this is what you got for hundred of dollars...

Now I would like to now compare that with Clannad HD Kickstarter Limited Edition from Sekai Project to Majikoi S First Print Print Limited Edition.

Comparison Pic 1: GocXGAF.jpg

Comparison Pic 2: jvp81ny.jpg

Clannad 1 Guidebook: I7l5MSe.jpg

Clannad 2: B0tjoTZ.jpg

Majikoi S 1 First Print Limited Edition Artbook: YQeIFSa.jpg

Majikoi S 2: qKYL45V.jpg

Now with the Clannad Kickstarter Limited Edition we have something which seems as good as japanese releases, with a big box, a high quality 81 pages guidebook, the game disc in a long jewel case and the mabinogi soundtrack disc in a standard jewel case, not only that it is a numbered edition with only about 4000 units made, all this for 40 USD Early Birds and 50 USD for the rest.

So basically for 40/50 USD, you could get something that rival japanese eroge First Print Limited Edition releases with plenty of content, but for hundred of dollars you get a cheap low quality Boxset with censored copies on DVD in cheap black DVD cases? I am not so good at math, but I think something's wrong here. Now it seems that the prices have increased since Clannad Kickstarter by 3x and the quality and amount of content for your buck seem to have diminished? Again either something's wrong with the math...

Edited by Nier
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I'm a backer of the Clockwork Ley-Line campaign, and the physical standalone add-on caught my attention in the backerkit as well. However, there's some context here that's needed.

First, people asked during the Chrono Clock campaign if there'd be a standalone physical option, and Sekai Project said that they would consider it (by the way, I've never seen SP dismiss anyone's request for this option like you suggest), but they didn't end up adding one, so anyone who wanted that option was out of luck. 

As for Clockwork's campaign, the limited items will definitely be limited. Suggesting that the backerkit will be some infinite store is ridiculous. It's going to be locked down eventually, they're going to produce a specific number of goods, and then ship those goods out. If there are reprints, they won't be anytime soon since Sekai Project has yet to reprint any of their limited edition items from their Kickstarters, and they have never made any plans to.

In terms of cost, the Physical Limited Edition tier includes the physical games + physical OST and digital copies of the games, the OST, the artbook, and the light novel. In order to match that price with add-ons alone, that'd cost $175, or $40 more than the price of the Physical Limited Edition tier on the Kickstarter (and after experimenting with the add-ons, if you got the Physical Limited Edition + Physical Artbook tier during the Kickstarter, it costs more shipping to recreate that tier with add-ons in the backerkit, so that tier was a better deal for Kickstarter backers).

I think the one complaint you can make is that we didn't know exactly what add-ons would be made available after the campaign other than the physical artbook. If you are interested in digital items, you saved a good bit of money by backing the Physical Limited Edition tier during the Kickstarter. If you're not interested, you could try to get a refund or change your pledge in backerkit to the $0 tier and only go for physical add-ons and possibly get more physical items with your money than you could before.

As for Clannad being less expensive than later physical releases, Sekai Project has said in livestreams that they lost money producing the physical versions and that it was something special for that campaign. Given that they've never had a more successful visual novel Kickstarter since Clannad, it's understandable that physical editions aren't as cheap anymore.

The SP vs Frontwing Grisaia physicals situation is an interesting discussion to have, though. Clearly both companies are working at different paces in order to reach different objectives with the Grisaia property. The one thing I will say is that while Frontwing's complete box is better in quality, it's also quite a bit more expensive than Sekai's. It is a bit of an awkward position to put backers in, though, since Sekai won't be shipping the last of the physical items until possibly the middle of this year.

Can't believe I wrote this giant response but hopefully it's more concise than OP's, at least.

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On one hand the Frontwing Complete Box has the 18+ version of Grisaia, better packaging, and more extras, but on the other hand Frontwing is considering adding DRM (likely internet activation) to the Complete Box. Honestly I'm much less interested in the Complete Box knowing that the discs likely won't have any longevity; when the activation servers cease to be available or the activations are used up then the discs are essentially coasters. And the really stupid thing about it is that all of the titles included in the Complete Box are being made available DRM-free for the original Grisaia Kickstarter anyway so adding the DRM does literally nothing to prevent piracy.

Edited by M.I.X
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14 hours ago, Narcosis said:

we're talking about people who literally got screwed over hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

who are these people again

also re: the grisaia box what the fuck do you want them to do. These were planned 3 whole years apart. Either they cancel it, and get a bunch of people complaining because they wanted it, or upgrade all the SP backers for that... oh wait, the SP grisaia box was already made. There's quite obviously no solution to this that'll please people upset, so just accept it and stop crying. 

Edited by Chuee
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1 hour ago, M.I.X said:

And the really stupid thing about it is that all of the titles included in the Complete Box are being made available DRM-free for the original Grisaia Kickstarter anyway so adding the DRM does literally nothing to prevent piracy.

Unless I'm forgetting something the side games don't exist in a DRM free version(in English). 

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... This is just a question in general... does he really add anything to this 'discussion' of SP's infamy?  I thought that it was common sense by now that SP is the evil demonic corporation of the VN localization scene...  I saw nothing to be surprised about above, considering the company's past.  I do think it was a bunch of cheap tricks, but that kind of cheap trick is part and parcel of anything 'limited edition'.

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