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Nier

It's Official, Almost 1 Year After it's Release Subarashiki Hibi One of the Best VN Ever Made Didn't Sell

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11 minutes ago, Narcosis said:

and gods forbid them for containing any sort of politically incorrect content.

Hell, anything could be classed as "politically incorrect" by the western powers that be, just yesterday someone that was putting up videos of their "Let's Play" on youtube for the Steam version of Chrono Clock just got the ban hammer over a 2D CG pantyshot for I quote the "sexualization of minors":

 

Edited by Nier

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1 minute ago, Nier said:

Hell, someone that was putting up videos of their "Let's Play" for the Steam version of Chrono Clock on youtube only got to get the ban hammer for I quote the "sexualization of minors":

Really sad since he seems to have quite an effect on the market, I think the main reason the sakura series by winged cloud did so well was because he was playing through them. This is not to say that the sakura series deserved the publicity, but just an example of the influence he had on VNs when he did his playthroughs.

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20 minutes ago, Kiriririri said:

Lmao do you really think majority cares about that

No, I never once said so. I said a lot of people voiced their concern about the censorship, and that among those people, there were some that said they weren't going to buy the game out of protest. I personally know some of these people. I'm sure this makes up some part of the lack of sales. Though, it certainly isn't the only reason.

Still, definitely an issue worth addressing.

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Well, what did they expect when choosing a vn with fucked up elements? These kinds of vn's belong in the fan translated section. If they want to sell it's either good action or trashy and shallow crap.

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Was it really that unexpected though?

The story is great but it was always going to have a smaller audience then any other visual novel due to the type of content the game deals with that is extreme even for VN standards and cant be taken out like other games to have a wider audience.

It was kick started though and the translation was already done at that point correct so I doubt they took a loss on the game overall

 

Edited by KT89

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26 minutes ago, KT89 said:

Was it really that unexpected though?

The story is great but it was always going to have a smaller audience then any other visual novel due to the type of content the game deals with that is extreme even for VN standards and cant be taken out like other games to have a wider audience.

It was kick started though and the translation was already done at that point correct so I doubt they a loss on the game overall

The repercussions are more than just lost money though, it will definitly affects the decisions to release other VN titles, at 2k-3k sales per title, do you think they will even think about bothering for that anymore when they can get XXk sales from Japan alone? For information Subarashiki Hibi was the winner in Best Story category of the 2010 Moe Game Awards, so back home in Japan it's not just any run-of-the-mil title.

It's so popular that it just got re-released in Japan this time with full voices, a whole new chapter, new character sprites and HD visuals.

SSdjSZ2.jpg

Edited by Nier

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4 minutes ago, Nier said:

The repercussions are more than just lost money though, it will definitly affects the decisions to release other VN titles, at 2K sales per title, do you think they will even think about bothering for that when they can get xxk sales from Japan alone? For information Subarashiki Hibi was the winner for Best Story category in the 2010 Moe Game Awards, so back home in Japan it's not just any run-of-the-mil title.

I thinks its more a lesson that you cant throw up a game like this on steam with a bad description of the game, with a patch that has 90% of the game that your expecting people to find on their own and basically 100% relying on word of mouth for your sales, On top of that wasn't one of people who helped TL the game was trashing it before it came out and minor controversy about the game and censoring.

 

It just seems like lots went wrong for what was always going to be a niche title in an already niche market and lets be honest if there wasn't a fan TL of the game done we never would have got a English release of the game.

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6 minutes ago, ShinRaikdou said:

As it was already said, Subahibi doesn't look appealing for typical vn consumer with themes like bestiality or futa. Not to mention lack of self-insert possibilities. So 2k is decent number.

Not enough to actually warrant all the effort that went into western localization. In terms of japanese sales numbers, that's far below average; if not for the fact KS literally funded the entire localization, it would be a flop. In other words, it pretty much became a one time thing with little to no actual revenue, lowering any chances for possible future releases. In all of this, I presume Sca-Ji is certainly more concerned he only managed to reach out to so very few people despite his best efforts, which is simply sad.

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To be honest, did Frontwing even advertise this VN properly when it was released? What I personally noticed when it was released originally is that the exposure in social media was pretty lacking. Yeah, the niche VN circles were talking about it quite a lot, but did it even reach the right audience who could buy the game? I feel that they pretty much relied on Steam algorithms to advertise it, which didn't work at all in this particular case, considering that the whole distribution process was made very confusing for someone who isn't that good with using patches. And also, this is simply not the game that catches much attention if you're unaware of its cult status.

And relying on the core VN fans is probably also not a very good idea, considering that there aren't really that many of them overall (and even less of those who actually buy the VNs they read). :makina:

2 hours ago, ChaosRaven said:

But Fata Morgana did EXTREMELY well according to MangaGamer - I've no idea where you heard the opposite.

And there are VN's that did pretty well, like Dies Irae for example which did fantastic with more than 50.000 sales.

I actually heard the same thing about Fata Morgana. I think it's the same thing as with Tokyo Babel: the sales during the first month after the release were really poor, but it gained the momentum after that, and mostly due to Steam sales.

As for DI, I'm pretty sure this number only shows how many people downloaded the common route, which is free. I kind of doubt that the actual sales were that good.

3 hours ago, kokoro said:

It's even more depressing when you compare it to DDLC's numbers. 

Well, DDLC is free, and it mostly became known through the same mechanism as most memes. It's very overrated, but it's also a relatively decent game. It's way more depressing to compare these sales numbers to how well all that Sakura Crap sells tbh. :(

1 hour ago, KT89 said:

I thinks its more a lesson that you cant throw up a game like this on steam with a bad description of the game, with a patch that has 90% of the game that your expecting people to find on their own and basically 100% relying on word of mouth for your sales, On top of that wasn't one of people who helped TL the game was trashing it before it came out and minor controversy about the game and censoring.

 

It just seems like lots went wrong for what was always going to be a niche title in an already niche market and lets be honest if there wasn't a fan TL of the game done we never would have got a English release of the game.

I'm out of likes, but this, really.

3 hours ago, Dergonu said:

To be fair, the western release was censored, so many people probably chose not to buy it in protest. Yes, it was simply one CG and nothing more, but censorship is censorship. It's an important issue to many in this community. 

Well, I get why they do that, but it's honestly not a very effective way to protest, because the publisher will never know what the exact reason for the lack of sales was. I mean, instead of sending the publisher the message "we won't buy your games if you censor them", they are basically sending them "we don't want your philosophical VNs, you should've just released Ikikoi instead". :makina:

Edited by Dreamysyu

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1 minute ago, Dreamysyu said:

Well, I get why they do that, but it's honestly not a very effective way to protest, because the publisher will never know what the exact reason for the lack of sales was. I mean, instead of sending the publisher the message "we won't buy your games if you censor them", they are basically sending them "we don't want your philosophical VNs, you should've just released Ikikoi instead". :makina:

I mean, if you tell them why you were displeased and that you won't buy the game because of that, and the game then sells badly, it's not hard to connect the dots.

I agree that people should voice their concerns instead of protesting in silence, but people were very vocal about this, so that's hardly what happened here.

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3 minutes ago, Dreamysyu said:

Well, DDLC is free, and it was a hit. It's very overrated, but it's also a relatively decent game. It's way more depressing to compare these sales numbers to how well all that Sakura Crap sells tbh. :(

Honestly I think these sucesses are related to well known youtubers playing them, I think that we should consider exposure on youtube through well known youtubers to be really important for a title to do really well like DDLC, Sakura series and Nekopara. Also them being short in length probably made them way more approachable for people that have not really goten into VNs. I think that for those that haven't really goten into VNs something like 30-50 hours must sound like quite some time to dedicate to a title.

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At this point I've kinda lost track of all the individual issues with censoring or bad translation for all of these VNs. I've kinda just stopped buying them altogether because it seems like all of them are inevitably going to be broken in some way.

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1 hour ago, Dergonu said:

No, I never once said so. I said a lot of people voiced their concern about the censorship, and that among those people, there were some that said they weren't going to buy the game out of protest. I personally know some of these people. I'm sure this makes up some part of the lack of sales. Though, it certainly isn't the only reason.

Still, definitely an issue worth addressing.

You are saying that MANY people didn't buy it because of censorship in a topic related to low sales. At this point you are just masturbating over your small group and pretending you achieved something.

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Just now, Kiriririri said:

You are saying that MANY people didn't buy it because of censorship in a topic related to low sales. At this point you are just masturbating over your small group and pretending you achieved something.

I bought the game.

It is true that there are people who didn't, though. That's all I'm saying. And seeing as the game has low sales, it kinda adds up, no?

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8 minutes ago, bakauchuujin said:

Honestly I think these sucesses are related to well known youtubers playing them, I think that we should consider exposure on youtube through well known youtubers to be really important for a title to do really well like DDLC, Sakura series and Nekopara. Also them being short in length probably made them way more approachable for people that have not really goten into VNs. I think that for those that haven't really goten into VNs something like 30-50 hours must sound like quite some time to dedicate to a title.

To be honest, most VNs don't work at all as let's play material. They are very long, and it's kind of strange to expect people to read the whole title again, even if it's technically someone else reading it this time. On the other hand, it could work much better if the youtubers don't upload the whole let's play, but only make a montage of some key moments, but it would require a lot of work, and I don't think most of them have time and resources to do it.

And I also believe you're getting this wrong: it's not like the youtubers made DDLC successful. They definitely helped to spread it even further, but they only started playing it because it was successful in the first place.

Edited by Dreamysyu

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2 hours ago, ChaosRaven said:

Fata Morgana did EXTREMELY well according to MangaGamer - I've no idea where you heard the opposite.

And there are VN's that did pretty well, like Dies Irae for example which did fantastic with more than 50.000 sales. And there are more like Grisaia, Nekopara, etc. So could we please not judge overall VN sales just by one flop?! :yumiko:

I never said that, but the games I mentioned have had low sales numbers, not sure where you heard the opposite from but whatever.

Examples of VN titles that actually sold EXTREMELY well are:

NEKOPARA 0

NEKOPARA 1

NEKOPARA 2

NEKOPARA 3

STEINS;GATE

In comparison even CLANNAD did not reach these games number, despite the fact that well it's CLANNAD and that it's release date is much older than any of these titles, though all in all it still sold 20x more than most other story VNs.

The rest I won't include because they are either free, get discounted to 99 cents a pop during sales or OELVN.

It's also not possible to know Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative sales number because the game was removed and relisted, resulting in a kind of a mess.

Edited by Nier

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SubaHibi is a complicated, demanding game that is extremely foreign to Western sensibilities in its formula. It's not that hard to explain Clannad, Dies Irae or even Muv-Luv to a Western gamer, but after a year of reading about SubaHibi every other day, I still only have a very vague idea what it is about. It might be popular in Japan, where Eroge is already a major industry and people are used to extreme mixes of themes and drastic content it offers, but it's pretty much one of the hardest things to sell in the West. It could dissuade JP companies from investing in the localization of other large plotge, but I think it's a very peculiar case and we shouldn't read too deep into it - SubaHibi might be a masterpiece, but it's also a particularly quirky and hermetic one and as there was no real idea on how to sell it to anyone but hardcore VN geeks that already wanted it, it'd be strange if it didn't flop.

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6 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

SubaHibi is a complicated, demanding game that is extremely foreign to Western sensibilities in its formula. It's not that hard to explain Clannad, Dies Irae or even Muv-Luv to a Western gamer, but after a year of reading about SubaHibi every other day, I still only have a very vague idea what it is about. It might be popular in Japan, where Eroge is already a major industry and people are used to extreme mixes of themes and drastic content it offers, but it's pretty much one of the hardest things to sell in the West. It could dissuade JP companies from investing in the localization of other large plotge, but I think it's a very peculiar case and we shouldn't read too deep into it - SubaHibi might be a masterpiece, but it's also a particularly quirky and hermetic one and as there was no real idea on how to sell it to anyone but hardcore VN geeks that already wanted it, it'd be strange if it didn't flop.

Yeah, but honestly there were still many things that could be done a lot better. For once, even if they wanted to sell this game on Steam, instead of censoring the first chapter and selling it separately on Steam, they should've just censored the whole game and put it Steam, while making the free patch that would unlock the later parts of the game. Unlike what the popular opinion suggests, h-scenes in Subahibi aren't really that important, and it wouldn't even matter that much if the patch was free. For once, it would allow them to tease the later parts of the game on the Steam page, which are simply much better anyway. Even if they simply described the general premise of the second chapter, with the girl committing suicide and a guy proclaiming himself a messiah, it would still look much more intriguing than what we have right now.

Also, Subahibi is pretty much a philosophical work adapted into a porn game. There's no better way to describe it, just like there's no good ways to describe quite a lot of good Western books.

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23 minutes ago, Kiriririri said:

You are saying that MANY people didn't buy it because of censorship in a topic related to low sales. At this point you are just masturbating over your small group and pretending you achieved something.

pretty sure that´s really the main reason why many haven´t bought the game, like a small, but overly vocal minority having basically rallied hard against fw censoring subahibi ever since its kickstarter, so naturally a lot of potential customers were drivem away from doing so. can´t expect the average schmuck of casual reader to know it has been only a tiny scene, lots basically believed there´s hours of content missing, at least that´s what i think. subahibi itself not being mainstream certainly factored into the poor sales as well.

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Well, the thing is... not everyone thinks this is the "best VN ever made". People have different tastes. Even ignoring the horrible Steam description that does a poor job selling the game, Subahibi is not a game for everyone, for many reasons. It doesn't appeal to the Steam crowd at all. It doesn't matter how great you say it is, I can't see someone that plays VNs mainly for moe anime waifus and ecchi ever thinking this is a masterpiece, even if they do end up buying it.

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1 hour ago, Dreamysyu said:

As for DI, I'm pretty sure this number only shows how many people downloaded the common route, which is free. I kind of doubt that the actual sales were that good.

Yikes, I didn't consider that. Actual sales will surely be lower than that I guess. But I definitely heard that Light was overall satisfied with the sales, so they can't be low.

49 minutes ago, Nier said:

I never said that, but the games I mentioned have had low sales numbers, not sure where you heard the opposite from but whatever.

Examples of VN titles that actually sold EXTREMELY well are:

NEKOPARA 0

NEKOPARA 1

NEKOPARA 2

NEKOPARA 3

STEINS;GATE

In comparison even CLANNAD did not reach these games number, despite the fact that it's release date is much older than any of these titles.

The rest I won't include because they are either free, get discounted to 99 cents a pop during sales or OELVN.

You have to put things into perspective. Just because Nekopara gained some kind of cult status and sold ridiculous numbers, doesn't mean others sold bad just because the numbers are much lower. Nekopara is a massive exception not the 'expected standard' and it's a low price title.

When MangaGamer was still a young company they were a bit more open with info than today and gave some sales numbers out they considered 'good'. And a 1000 sold copies was already pretty good. Their best sellers like Koihime and Shuffle even reached more than 2000 sold copies. Though Koihime was even so expensive that 2000 sold copies was just enough to break even.

So that was years ago and wages for translators are probably better today. But Fata Morgana sold about 8.500 copies on Steam alone, not counting the copies sold from the MangaGamer store front directly. And MangaGamer has more than 40.000 followers on Twitter, so you can expect more than a few copies sold from there. So Fata Morgana can be expected to have sold easily more than 10.000 copies. And Fata Morgana has no voices, is shorther that Koihime with much less production values but sold 5 times as much as the best seller from years ago. There's a reason why Fata Morgana got a hard copy - only successful titles get that from MangaGamer (the exception being ef).

Success is measured by the difference of costs and sales revenue, not by comparing VN's to massive exceptions like Nekopara which is competing with high profile games like Final Fantasy or Wolfenstein if it comes to sales numbers thanks to a huge following and low price.

And judging by the sales data that was posted in recent years, 10.000 sold copies in Japan are already 'good'. Only the absolute best sellers in Japan like Yuzusoft sell 40.000 copies. So, please don't judge the success of a title without considering the actual costs of it and the sales price.

Edited by ChaosRaven

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21 minutes ago, Dreamysyu said:

Yeah, but honestly there were still many things that could be done a lot better. For once, even if they wanted to sell this game on Steam, instead of censoring the first chapter and selling it separately on Steam, they should've just censored the whole game and put it Steam, while making the free patch that would unlock the later parts of the game. Unlike what the popular opinion suggests, h-scenes in Subahibi aren't really that important, and it wouldn't even matter that much if the patch was free. For once, it would allow them to tease the later parts of the game on the Steam page, which are simply much better anyway. Even if they simply described the general premise of the second chapter, with the girl committing suicide and a guy proclaiming himself a messiah, it would still look much more intriguing than what we have right now.

 

Yeah, the Steam page is pretty much an incomprehensible mess - and I see it just like I've said before, as something directed mostly towards people that already know what they're buying, with a chance for a few lucky sales from people intrigued by positive user reviews. As usual, the publisher thought they can just rely on their existing fanbase, without any kind of effort to reach out to anyone else. It's this attitude, among other things, that keeps VNs as isolated as they are now.

Quote

Also, Subahibi is pretty much a philosophical work adapted into a porn game. There's no better way to describe it, just like there's no good ways to describe quite a lot of good Western books.

Yeah, that pretty much proves my point. I might be a rather open-minded person with decent knowledge of the VN medium, but the "deeply philosophic porn game" is still not something I can that easily wrap your mind around. And it's not like anyone even tries to communicate this properly to the potential buyer. On the Steam page, you have some info about an award it got (I'm sure it tells a lot to a Western reader, "Moe Games Awards" sounds very dignified and dropping the names of artists will also surely captivate people a lot), a few words about how awesome it is and a short plot summary that sounds like pure gibberish. I would never even add it to my wishlist if not the word-of-mouth knowledge about it (which I wouldn't even have if I wasn't this peculiar, double-niche brand of weeb).

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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The House in Fata Morgana has been discounted as low as 12 bucks 5 times already and doesn't have any voices either, it not fair to compare a relatively lower cost indie game to a high end game that has 100 hours+ of text and voiced content and that was only ever discounted down to 25 bucks or so, it's just not the same budget, cost and risks, the effort, investment and work involved are just not on the same level.

8.5k might be good enough for a title of this caliber and budget, but saying that is sold EXTREMELY well is an overexageration, especially compared to other titles that sold 20k, 50k, 100k or more.

 

17 minutes ago, MaggieROBOT said:

Well, the thing is... not everyone thinks this is the "best VN ever made". People have different tastes. Even ignoring the horrible Steam description that does a poor job selling the game, Subahibi is not a game for everyone, for many reasons. It doesn't appeal to the Steam crowd at all. It doesn't matter how great you say it is, I can't see someone that plays VNs mainly for moe anime waifus and ecchi ever thinking this is a masterpiece, even if they do end up buying it.

It's not just my opinion though, Subarashiki Hibi is one of the highest rated game on vndb:

kdiHcKN.png

Right between Muramasa and Higurashi, not far off from CLANNAD and Fate/stay night.

Edited by Nier

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15 minutes ago, Nier said:

8.5k might be good enough for a title of this caliber and budget, but saying that is sold EXTREMELY well is an overexageration, especially compared to other titles that sold 20k, 50k, 100k or more.

I actually found the MangaGamer interview about Fata Morgana. I quote the part about the overall reception of the game:

Quote

BB: How has The House in Fata Morgana been accepted by the western audience thus far?

BDH: The reception’s been pretty amazing so far. I’ve seen so much love from nearly everyone who’s played it, and I couldn’t be happier.

rito: Overwhelmingly well! I had the utmost confidence that others would adore this game as I had, so I’m hardly surprised to see glowing praise for it week after week. And that’s another exciting thing — even a full year later, word continues to spread thanks to the incredibly passionate fans.

Edited by ChaosRaven

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