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Sprite's Sticky Situation


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As for 'sticky situation' here, it was in regard of the difficulty that Sprite face according to their blogpost. Apparently, they'll gonna stall the development for Aokana fandisc and they also stated that the VNs industry is getting smaller which in turn it made fund gathering become harder. Quite worrying stuff if I may say, so for how I can only hope that it wouldn't go bankrupt even it might be possible as of now. Any opinion on this?

Edited by littleshogun
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Sprite is making excuses.  Their problem is that their parent company hasn't produced anything new since the original Aokana (as opposed to the follow-ups/FDs).   Their other subsidiaries are completely dead, and FDs rarely sell as well as original material (exceptions exist, but they are just that... exceptions). 

To be fair, there definitely is some contraction.  Japan's economy isn't looking good (looking at yet another recession), and the otakus of my generation, the generation that mostly created the 'moege boom' (no, I didn't coin it, I translated it from a friend's sarcastic comment a few years back) by becoming obsessed with SOL have less money to play around with, as they start thinking about retirement.  The generation below us (in Japan) is a lot less laser-focused on SOL (fantasy being the big thing right now), and as a result, more money is going into easily available (and cheap) webnovels and LNs.   Nukige still retain their relevance (there will probably still be nukige until the fall of civilization or the generation of sex VR using neural links), but visual novels increasingly don't have the material the younger generations want for the rest of it.  There will always be a 'core market' for SOL (because nostalgia for youth is an eternal theme), but it is definitely going to shrink. 

The simple reality is that a lot of companies are already trying to adjust to the new reality by testing the waters in new genres (just look at Navel, for instance), but I really have no idea where things are going to go from here beyond a feeling that the current way of things isn't going to last a whole lot longer (relatively speaking, for someone approaching middle age). 

Edit: Incidentally, this is just my opinion, based on what I've seen being put out over the last year and a half... the amount of VNs trying - usually in a really half-assed manner - to break out of the charage/moege mold have been increasing in proportion to the rest.  There are still a hugely disproportionate number of SOL-focused games, but more and more it looks like the producers are trying to grab the attention of a different generation.   My generation in Japan had a toxic level of SOL obsession, and now that they have less money to play with... SOL eroge just aren't as much of a priority.  Of course, chuunige (my favorites) aren't in great shape, either (since chuunige companies are historically reliant on the sale of goods and long-term sales over initial game sales).  However, in absolute terms, this is a much bigger blow to SOL (though in relative terms a bigger blow to my favorite genre).

 

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I don't find it hard to believe that the VN industry is shrinking, at the moment the eroge stores are filled with mostly second hand eroge. Most of these second hand VNs are about half the price and their quality is already known since they have been out for a while. Buying new VNs is both costly and slightly risky since you might get something that is not that good. There is also the fact that people are limited by their time and money. I don't really think they can rely on the hardcore fans buying more, if they for instance are limited by the amount of time they have to play due to having long work days they probably won't buy more than they are able to play. If they are NEET or only work part time they are probably limited by the amount of money they have. So because of this I doubt that they can do much more to get more money from the people who are already hardcore fans. As for new fans, well the birthrate in Japan is really low and I doubt that it is likely that many grownups that aren't already into VNs will start getting into it. In conclusion I think the main problem boils down to a limited amount of consumers with limited time and money and an increase in competition from older releases. Honestly I don't see how the VN industry could be able to maintain its current size in Japan. I guess one way for them to thrive would be to expand their reach in the west since there are probably many anime and manga fans who would like VNs in the west that simply haven't goten into it, though so far it seems like the market in the west is too small to really rely on.

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On the bright side, for most of you, there is already plenty of existing stuff to read.  This is an issue that hurts people like me more than it harms people new to the medium.  Once things balance out, the companies that were able to adjust the best will have survived... but who knows what that will entail.  I seriously doubt Front Wing is going anywhere, for instance, considering how they've been eagerly forging inroads internationally.

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1 hour ago, Clephas said:

On the bright side, for most of you, there is already plenty of existing stuff to read.  This is an issue that hurts people like me more than it harms people new to the medium.  Once things balance out, the companies that were able to adjust the best will have survived... but who knows what that will entail.

I think the problem for most western fans is that companies going bankrupt means that it is really unlikely that their existing VNs are ever going to get an official english release. 

Edited by bakauchuujin
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33 minutes ago, bakauchuujin said:

I think the problem for most western fans is that companies going bankrupt means that it is really unlikely that their existing VNs are ever going to get an official english release. 

The ones doing localizations on a regular basis are those least likely to go down, and they are often the most prolific producers.  This is going to have more effects on the marginal companies and the ones who are reluctant to allow their games to be localized... and new companies.  Also, Will is probably going to be forced to cut loose more of its subsidiaries. 

Of course, this doesn't apply to all companies getting their games localized, but the companies that have some kind of lasting appeal (Purple soft and Navel for instance) aren't likely to go anywhere.  The one most likely to go down amongst the MG-relations is probably Circus... they aren't diversifying.  If anything, their lineup is getting narrower every year, and it is precisely what the market is glutted on.  Pulltop too, maybe... though less likely.  That company has been aiming for the non-ero market (testing the waters) lately.

Edit: Minori might go down, though... they don't know how to reduce costs without impairing quality.

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Pretty clear that company that is made of members that do not have interest in creating VNs with erotic contents but do it because they have to for money will go down. Zwei clearly had its issues seeing how it was delayed for so long and them focusing on just trying to milk what they can out of Aokana.

They had anime, cafes, live events, novel version, psvita and ps4 editions, Switch edition (that they tweeted was able to make them little profit thanks to preorders in March. Pretty conserning if company tweets stuff like this imo.) and lastly soshage that failed and probably ate all their money.

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All things go in cycles.  The hot new thing never stays hot forever.  Eventually only the best examples are fondly remembered.  Westerns used to be big on US TV; ninjas used to be big in Japan.  Now they're both essentially played out.  Police procedurals have been hot for a long time, but they won't be forever.  Marvel superhero movies can't keep going the way they have been forever.

In the case of VNs, the market seems to have been captured by one very specific kind of VN.  That's a recipe for burnout.  It's a fact that compared to, say, ten years ago (or so) sales are significantly down.  The extreme homogeneity probably plays a role in this (the stereotypes have been there for a very long time) but to what extent, it's hard to say.  (For example, to what extent do Japan's shifting demographics explain it?  To what extend do mobile devices displacing computers explain it?)

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don´t really mind them venturing into english terrain before facing financial shenanigans, as long as it won´t mean entrusting things to a company whose higher ups believe that putting efforts in (thoroughly) editing/betatesting/QA titles is a fukking waste of time, because eroge don´t generate enough revenue and customers aren´t supposed to complain/whine in the slightest, but that´s what it probably means, so ... *huge sigh

Edited by SaintOfVoid
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9 hours ago, douggle said:

I think thats exactly what it means. But we'll see how that plays out quite a leap from Suspending Operations to Overseas release in such a short time span though.

I said that the first day the news about suspending operations broke out: "Just wait until they start a KS for Aokana, I see it coming."

And we didn't wait long for "overseas transplants" post on twitter xD (the Japanese word for port is the same as transplant - 移植).

9 hours ago, SaintOfVoid said:

don´t really mind them venturing into english terrain before facing financial shenanigans, as long as it won´t mean entrusting things to a company whose higher ups believe that putting efforts in (thoroughly) editing/betatesting/QA titles is a fukking waste of time, because eroge don´t generate enough revenue and customers aren´t supposed to complain/whine in the slightest, but that´s what it probably means, so ... *huge sigh

That's exactly what I am worried about too. I'm hoping they don't go the self-publish way. That's a recipe for a bad translation unless they perhaps hire proper people for it. I'd rather see them sell the license to a proper localizer (maybe even Sekai... even though I dislike them, I believe they would be able to do a better job on it than if sprite were to self-publish).

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3 hours ago, Infernoplex said:

That's exactly what I am worried about too. I'm hoping they don't go the self-publish way. That's a recipe for a bad translation unless they perhaps hire proper people for it. I'd rather see them sell the license to a proper localizer (maybe even Sekai... even though I dislike them, I believe they would be able to do a better job on it than if sprite were to self-publish).

selfpublishing might, or might not be better, depending on how it´s done in the end. just no letting dudes/gals handle things in a way that´s either good, or fantl-quality at best. still greatly bothered by a certain individuals statements from not too long ago

https://twitter.com/sacredge0/status/945160532264407047

Edited by SaintOfVoid
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1 hour ago, SaintOfVoid said:

selfpublishing might, or might not be better, depending on how it´s done in the end. just no letting dudes/gals handle things in a way that´s either good, or fantl-quality at best. still greatly bothered by a certain individuals statements from not too long ago

https://twitter.com/sacredge0/status/945160532264407047

Yeah, as I said, I don't like SP. And their recent record on translation quality isn't all that good (looking at Chrono Clock and Hoshizora no Memoria here). Luckily, there are at least 3 other options available for sprite if they are willing enough to sell the license to either of these other localizers.

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42 minutes ago, Infernoplex said:

Yeah, as I said, I don't like SP. And their recent record on translation quality isn't all that good (looking at Chrono Clock and Hoshizora no Memoria here). Luckily, there are at least 3 other options available for sprite if they are willing enough to sell the license to either of these other localizers.

Considering that SP are the ones who have had the most successful kickstarters in terms of getting money I think they are likely to go for SP if they don't self publish.

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2 hours ago, bakauchuujin said:

Considering that SP are the ones who have had the most successful kickstarters in terms of getting money I think they are likely to go for SP if they don't self publish.

That's why I said SP first. If they want to go the KS route, it's their safest bet. What I also overlooked earlier is the possibility of sprite going the SakuraGame way... which is the worst option that can happen. But you never know xD ... They could get a Chinese release with them, and just throw us a poor machine translation in English. And they are also known to overpay for licenses, so sprite might find a savior there. Hopefully, that won't happen. It would be a pretty sad development for Aokana.

Edited by Infernoplex
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Produce trash repeatedly and your business will go bad. Try for once and create something original and go for something new and not just another moe trash vn with cardboard cutout characters and a crappy stort and MAYBE things will look up.

 

I see these vns as fastfood. Might look appealing on pictures and be good on rare occasions, but will generally not be anyones favourite.

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I wouldn't be so sure about Aokana VN will be localized, especially with the dub for the anime will coming up later. But if it's indeed that we'll gonna have Aokana VN localized, then I'll say that it's definitely the good news. As for the one who should be localized Aokana, I guess Sekai should be the one like I did say here considering that Sekai did have Kio Nachi work at KARAKARA and Astro work at Sekai, and out of all translator I think Astro should be the one who work on this for the sake of his friend (Astro said that Kio Nachi is his friend).

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  • 1 month later...

Sprite did tweet that they'll gonna announce of their overseas version soon, which is sound vague for now. While there's a chance that it might be just a dub version of Aokana, it still interesting to keep an eye on so I decided to post their tweet below. If it's true that they'll gonna localized the VN, I hope that sprite didn't get tricked by the bad translation company just like Mikandi.

Edited by littleshogun
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