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Are leading companies like Nitroplus and Typemoon affected by the decline in the JP VN industry?

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Type-moon has branched out so into so much other media that it would probably survive the complete collapse of the VN industry.

Nitroplus has a lot of solid IPs that make them huge amounts of money from swag, as much as from the games themselves.  The likelihood of that company going down anytime soon is low.  Mainstream companies like Navel are far more likely to take a hit.

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Short answer? No.

The companies you have mentioned secured a stable space within their niche; they might not make as much as other major companies, but thanks to their IP's and specific interests, they won't be affected in the same way as studios, that churn out mainstream moege or charage. Their games are not only wildly different, but have a long lasting fanbase that goes with them.

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2 hours ago, Clephas said:

Nitroplus has a lot of solid IPs that make them huge amounts of money from swag, as much as from the games themselves.  The likelihood of that company going down anytime soon is low.  Mainstream companies like Navel are far more likely to take a hit.

Does Nitroplus really have another cash cow besides the Stein's Gate franchise?

Since last years Getchu Sales Ranking tells another story, with Nitroplus' Tokyo Necro just being on 36th place versus Navel's Otome Riron to Sono go no Shuuhen -Belle Époque- on 5th place. And that's not even considering that Tokyo Necro had most likely a much higher budget and therefore needing more sales to get even. And all their other popular titles like Muramasa or Sayo no Uta are much older. The only other newer title that comes to mind that seemed to have at least some hype around it was Chaos;Child, and that's not even running under the Nitroplus label anymore for whatever reason. And I haven't seen a sales ranking list with a Nitroplus title getting anywhere near a top ten ranking besides Stein's Gate for an eternity.

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Hmmm... I guess you're confusing 5pb with Nitroplus. Nitroplus publishes 5pb's sci-adv series, but that's just it.

They have published works like Saya no Uta (according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitroplus), and money-makers like Sonicomi and Psycho-Pass, one for the moe and the other for its popularity.

Besides, Nitroplus adapts its major works to anime.

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3 hours ago, ChaosRaven said:

Does Nitroplus really have another cash cow besides the Stein's Gate franchise?

Since last years Getchu Sales Ranking tells another story, with Nitroplus' Tokyo Necro just being on 36th place versus Navel's Otome Riron to Sono go no Shuuhen -Belle Époque- on 5th place. And that's not even considering that Tokyo Necro had most likely a much higher budget and therefore needing more sales to get even. And all their other popular titles like Muramasa or Sayo no Uta are much older. The only other newer title that comes to mind that seemed to have at least some hype around it was Chaos;Child, and that's not even running under the Nitroplus label anymore for whatever reason. And I haven't seen a sales ranking list with a Nitroplus title getting anywhere near a top ten ranking besides Stein's Gate for an eternity.

Steins gate is 5bp material now (along with the whole sci-adv franchise).

Edited by WinterfuryZX

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7 hours ago, Okarin said:

Hmmm... I guess you're confusing 5pb with Nitroplus. Nitroplus publishes 5pb's sci-adv series, but that's just it.

They have published works like Saya no Uta (according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitroplus), and money-makers like Sonicomi and Psycho-Pass, one for the moe and the other for its popularity.

I don't really get Nitroplus' and 5bp's relationship to each other. Both are developers and both are publishers. And both publish their own titles and the titles of each other. And some titles are even developed or published together.

Is there some system at work here, or do they use a spinning beer bottle at their regular's table to decide who will develop and publish their next title?

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As I understand it, Nitroplus and 5bp were partners but not merged companies.  Both of them worked on the Science series together until the most recent entry, which 5bp designed and produced separately from Nitroplus.  This is because 5bp partnered with Hobibox (the originator for Caramel Box) for the PC version's development this time around, instead of Nitroplus.  This is because 5bp doesn't have the means to effectively program/port games for/to pc, so they inevitably have no choice but to partner with other companies to produce PC versions.

Oh... and 5bp was a no-name with pc-gamers when the series first started, so they used Nitroplus to get their product sold on PC, but that was just plain common sense strategic thinking...

Edit: To Nitroplus, it was probably just a chance to add some extra cash from swag and partial profits from the sales of the PC versions...  I don't think anyone expected for 5bp to get so big when Chaos;Head came out... and now they are the primary porter of famous/infamous non-mainstream VNs to console, lol.

Edit2: It should be noted that Nitroplus, while it produces high quality games that sell a lot over the course of several years, their initial sales almost always fall behind the mainstream.  The whole point is that their sales won't be hurt by the decay of mainstream VNs, since they don't bother with the mainstream in the first place. 

Edited by Clephas

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Is the VN industry actually doing that badly (economically)? I mean, I noticed that the quality of releases has been going down. But that isn't proof of anything economic. Could anybody link me to some sources that document the decline of the VN market in Japan? Also, what are the reasons for the VN market going down? 

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12 hours ago, Clephas said:

As I understand it, Nitroplus and 5bp were partners but not merged companies.  Both of them worked on the Science series together until the most recent entry, which 5bp designed and produced separately from Nitroplus.  This is because 5bp partnered with Hobibox (the originator for Caramel Box) for the PC version's development this time around, instead of Nitroplus.  This is because 5bp doesn't have the means to effectively program/port games for/to pc, so they inevitably have no choice but to partner with other companies to produce PC versions.

Oh... and 5bp was a no-name with pc-gamers when the series first started, so they used Nitroplus to get their product sold on PC, but that was just plain common sense strategic thinking...

Edit: To Nitroplus, it was probably just a chance to add some extra cash from swag and partial profits from the sales of the PC versions...  I don't think anyone expected for 5bp to get so big when Chaos;Head came out... and now they are the primary porter of famous/infamous non-mainstream VNs to console, lol.

Edit2: It should be noted that Nitroplus, while it produces high quality games that sell a lot over the course of several years, their initial sales almost always fall behind the mainstream.  The whole point is that their sales won't be hurt by the decay of mainstream VNs, since they don't bother with the mainstream in the first place. 

The last thing they done together it's Robotics;Notes, all the new releases of chaos head (noah etc.) sg, and sg 0 are 5bp only, as well as occlutic nine and chaos child.

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10 hours ago, Zalor said:

Also, what are the reasons for the VN market going down? 

1.2004年の『Fate』以降、ストーリーゲームにシフトしすぎた
2.格差社会&リーマンショックのコンボが、エロゲー購入層を直撃した
3.エロゲー売り場が減少した
4.2004年に同人ゲームが隆盛、抜きゲーと競合状態に陥った
5.2008年以降、スマートフォンが浸透を始め、2011年に一気に広まった
6.2011年のMacBookAir以降、ノートパソコンの軽量化&薄型化に拍車が掛かり、光学ドライブが内臓ではなくなった
7.キラータイトルが減少して、若者の注意を引き寄せる機会が減少した
8.ボリュームインフレションにより緩やかに客足が遠のいた
https://note.mu/kagamihiroyuki/n/n4d8a2555c667

1. After 2004's FSN, moving too much to story games. (Most probably shit lol)
2. Social stratification and "Lehman shock" hit eroge selling places
3. Less places to buy eroge
4. Doujinges get more popular and start to fight nukiges
5. 2008 smartphones, 2011 more smartphones
6. 2011 MacBookAir, laptops get more light weight and no longer DVD drives
7. Less "killer" titles, couldn't attract younger people into eroge
8. Volume inflation (too much eroge)

(Might be shit TL that is wrong w)

Oh and might as well mention that people are into light novels and soshage now.

Edited by Kiriririri

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8 hours ago, Zalor said:

Is the VN industry actually doing that badly (economically)? I mean, I noticed that the quality of releases has been going down. But that isn't proof of anything economic. Could anybody link me to some sources that document the decline of the VN market in Japan? Also, what are the reasons for the VN market going down? 

I think that's a bit of an exaggeration. The top main stream brands like Yuzusoft, August, Clochette or Navel still seam to be able to sell about ~40.000 copies initial sales. There were several posts with concrete sales data over the last 1 - 2 years that confirm that.

But what's certainly true is that the market is more 'tight', at least in the mainstream moege market. There's a lot more competition today than let's say a dekade ago. So if you're not one of the established top brands or have something special to offer, then there's certainly the risk to fall through and just end up with a few thousand copies sold or less. Overdrive is probably one of the most prominent examples of recent times. Apparently they'll release one more title and then close down.

There's much less competition on the market for story VN's and that's probably the main reason why the small group of Nitroplus, Light and Innocent Grey still seem to do well. I wouldn't take that as a given though, since Propeller, who were certainly one of the most established story brands a few years ago, are dead now. And newcomers don't have an easy life like Novectacle can surely confirm. Fata morgana no Yakata is a highly praised story title, but apparently didn't sell well, at least at first. I think they recovered since. But there's a reason why most newcomers target the mainstream market. The breadcrumps there are still much fatter than in the niche section. lol

What I've learned from the various post with concrete sales data:

~40.000 initial copies sold => Fantastic (Yuzusoft, August, Clochette, Navel)

~20.000 initial copies sold => Very good (Purple Software, Eushully, AliceSoft)

~10.000 initial copies sold => Good (Circus, Ensemble, Moonstone, Minori)

~5.000 initial copies sold => Average (Lump of Sugar, Whirlpool, AXL)

Depending on how individual titles performed some developers might place higher or lower, but I think the examples aren't too far off from the truth.

Edited by ChaosRaven

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3 minutes ago, ChaosRaven said:

What I've learned from the various post with concrete sales data:

40.000 initial copies sold => Fantastic (Yuzusoft, August, Clochette, Navel)

20.000 initial copies sold => Very good (Purple Software, Eushully, AliceSoft)

10.000 initial copies sold => Good (Circus, Ensemble, Moonstone, Minori)

5.000 initial copies sold => Average (Lump of Sugar, Whirlpool, AXL)

Depending on individual titles the individual developers place higher or lower, but I think the examples aren't too far off from the truth.

Note: that these are sales from certain shops and the sales can actually vary a lot from this in certain cases.

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4 minutes ago, Kiriririri said:

Note: that these are sales from certain shops and the sales can actually vary a lot from this in certain cases.

As I understood the posts with the sales data they were really combined sales. Otherwise the likes of Yuzusoft would probably sell several hundred thousand copies in total, which would even wipe the floor with the top sellers of past times like Clannad or F/SN, and I highly doubt that.

Edited by ChaosRaven

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9 minutes ago, ChaosRaven said:

As I understood the posts with the sales data they were really combined sales. Otherwise the likes of Yuzusoft would probably sell several hundred thousand copies in total, which would even wipe the floor with the top sellers of past times like Clannad or F/SN, and I highly doubt that.

They cover many shops yes but for example something like Softmap is not included in it which is one of biggest shops.
These are the shops included in the sales data:

Spoiler

949b5736.jpg

 

Edited by Kiriririri

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7 minutes ago, Kiriririri said:

They cover many shops yes but for example something like Softmap is not included in it which is one of biggest shops.
These are the shops included in the sales data:

  Reveal hidden contents

949b5736.jpg

 

Ah, okay. So it does cover the major shops. I think that's probably good enough for somewhat representative sales numbers. If total sales are let's say ~20% higher, that's still good enough to make the numbers representative. If it would be like let's say ~200% higher on average, then the deviation would be simply too high for representative sales data.

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24 minutes ago, Okarin said:

Why do people blame everything and anything on smartphones?! Like the PS Vita, supposedly it was killed off by them.

This is just a guess but people spend more and more time on smartphones and the time spent on PC goes lower and lower. People like to play soshage on the go and that kinda takes them away from eroge. They will continue playing soshage even when at home instead of playing eroge.
Also Vita is still alive in Japan so :sachi:

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There's the larger demographic trends in Japan too.  Fewer young people mean the target market for eroge is slowly shrinking.  There's even been news of school closings over it.

Also, free-to-play browser and mobile games like the ones Nutaku peddles (largely from DMM) compete with commercial eroge as well.  Such games appear to be much more profitable, as they're cheap to make and exploit players' greater willingness to pay for gameplay incentives rather than content.  They can also milk players for far more per customer than traditional games, which have a fixed price.

Edited by sanahtlig

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2 hours ago, Kiriririri said:

This is just a guess but people spend more and more time on smartphones and the time spent on PC goes lower and lower. People like to play soshage on the go and that kinda takes them away from eroge. They will continue playing soshage even when at home instead of playing eroge.
Also Vita is still alive in Japan so :sachi:

Not me, to be sure.

About Vita... the former were Sony's words, not mine. They complained smartphones drew away the attention from it (that still doesn't explain the 3DS' success, right?). Anyway, even though the Vita is a niche console and still receives games, it can be well considered a pretty big commercial failure. Not as bad as the Wii U, but up there.

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Thanks everyone for the replies! They're all really interesting to read. :P

Still, one has to wonder why the hell most eroge/nukige companies don't diversify and take up skills and go into other markets like creating software or selling services to companies(while either waiting for the market to recover or waiting for new chances/markets). If they're so damn worried about the stigma of sex/whatever, they could do that under another company name(as long as they can't trace you).

I guess some of their problems boil down to Asian society's fear of failure, fear of risks and their belief "if you work really hard, you will be able to achieve sucess, no matter how impossible, in the face of overwhelming odds"(like hell it does). That's probably why they keep doing the same thing over and over again, even if the results willl doom or bankrupt them.

I actually wonder why the hell they don't make a F2P biishoujo game which is split into chapters or segments, and which is published online.

Also found a completely non-VN related link, related to software: https://www.disruptingjapan.com/can-this-startup-solve-japans-hidden-mental-health-problem-hikari-labs/

Edited by roastedmushroom

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5 hours ago, roastedmushroom said:

Thanks everyone for the replies! They're all really interesting to read. :P

Still, one has to wonder why the hell most eroge/nukige companies don't diversify and take up skills and go into other markets like creating software or selling services to companies(while either waiting for the market to recover or waiting for new chances/markets). If they're so damn worried about the stigma of sex/whatever, they could do that under another company name(as long as they can't trace you).

I guess some of their problems boil down to Asian society's fear of failure, fear of risks and their belief "if you work really hard, you will be able to achieve sucess, no matter how impossible, in the face of overwhelming odds"(like hell it does). That's probably why they keep doing the same thing over and over again, even if the results willl doom or bankrupt them.

I actually wonder why the hell they don't make a F2P biishoujo game which is split into chapters or segments, and which is published online.

Also found a completely non-VN related link, related to software: https://www.disruptingjapan.com/can-this-startup-solve-japans-hidden-mental-health-problem-hikari-labs/

First, you have to understand that one of the reasons most of these companies are able to survive is by avoiding the costs of competing to hire highly-skilled programming staff.  To be blunt, most companies utilize variations on the same six or seven relatively simplistic engines to make their games.  These are companies that put most of their cash into the art and voices, rather than the programming aspects, so most cannot handle ports and new mediums at all...  if the Fate series hadn't become so popular in general, at least partially due to the anime, Type-Moon would probably not be worth even a tenth of what it is today.  Ports to console are generally undertaken by hiring out the work to specialist companies, and this is only done at a cost that is rather high, by industry standards.  Something you should keep in mind is that the cost of development rises explosively the more programming that has to be done.  That is one of the reasons why so many companies in the gaming industry fail so quickly... because the costs are unpredictable... usually in an upward direction.  Even if a company develops a proprietary engine, it is usually a one-time thing or something that is only replaced once every ten years or so.  Heck, Akatsuki Works still uses variations on Kirikiri and Light still is just updating its Malie engine...

Also, VNs in general are exclusively single-player experiences, so F2P has almost no real advantage for a VN maker.  In fact, the greater majority of VN-players/readers tend to be enraged at the idea of having to pay in bits and pieces for the whole story, preferring to pay a much higher price to get everything all at once.  The profit of F2P comes from competition... and there are no competitive aspects to visual novels.  Without competition (which encourages microtransactions) in whatever form it takes, F2P can't function effectively as a profit-making proposition.

In other words, F2P is a scam, similar to the way drug-dealers give people a bit of the product for free to 'taste-test'.

Edit: Sorry, vented some of my F2P hate...   Anyway... while VNs, in and of themselves, are actually quite suited for portable platforms due to their relatively low operating specs, the fact remains that few VN companies have the financial or human resources needed to fund and manage the development of smartphone games.  Otomege are an exception, as almost all of them are developed with portable consoles in mind.  However, even otomege don't include multiplayer or F2P.   The closest you ever get are games like Fault, Nekopara and Grisaia Phantom Trigger, which are released in installments (which generally gets negative reactions out of the fans).  In the case of the latter two, the makers understand the fan mentality and made certain to properly produce an ending to each chapter, making you want more without using crude tactics like trailing off in the middle of an incident.  However, most fans dislike being made to wait for the whole story... especially with so many examples out there of games that stopped after the first or second chapter (I cried when I found out that  this:   https://vndb.org/v1912    Wasn't going to ever be finished). 

Dating sims, on the other hand, adapt well to the F2P format, and more and more of that type have been popping up on the smartphone platforms in the last few years.  This is because they have a high degree of interactivity and paid shortcuts are relatively easy to include without it feeling unnatural (don't worry, you don't HAVE to have the sunglasses that make the girls like you five times as much... lol).

Edited by Clephas

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