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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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1 hour ago, Zalor said:

Commercial success of English versions are important so that Japanese VN studios will want to continue collaborating with English localizing teams/companies. In the OP it shows a screen cap of a twitter post by Sca-ji (the creator of Suba Hibi) lamenting the unpopulartiy of Suba Hibi in the west, and he also mentions that さや教, which is short for Sayonara wo Oshiete would likely also do just as, if not more poorly. Thus implying that it wouldn't be worth localizing it. Sayonara is also among my favorite VN titles, and to much disappointment the fan translation team seemed to have dropped it. So it doesn't look like it will ever makes its way into English, not in the foreseeable future at least.

A few years back, it was absolutely shocking to see big name VNs such as Suba Hibi, Dies Irae, Little Busters, etc getting endorsed English translations. Japanese companies are super conservative and this was a big gamble for them. The fact that the results were so disappointing will strongly discourage them from being so generous or adventurous in the future. So as you can see, the relative flop of Suba Hibi doesn't just effect itself, but the likelihood of getting other quality JPN only VNs from getting official English releases.    

I don't have the data, but I don't think Dies Irae did that well either. This mission of localizing several kamige resulted in a huge failure, and that makes it unlikely that we will see more quality Japanese VNs getting localized. 

9

I wonder, it's hard to get reliable data at this point, with Steam Spy being dead, but I was under the impression that Dies Irae did better than Little Busters. Are sales on the level of 5-6k copies on Steam enough to justify a translation project of this scale? I guess barely, but it's not like most of these project were just attempted in a "traditional" way, just being dumped on the market with the hope they sell decently enough. They were Kickstarted, guaranteeing at minimum a return on investment (if the campaigns are handled competently). It's hard to say those companies made a huge gamble, considering they already dumped most of the investment risk on the fans (Key being a major exception I guess) and did dogshit to promote their games.

Although, maybe nothing less than the Western market being a goldmine would motivate some of them to expand. I can't say I ever got anywhere close to understanding the logic behind how some of these companies operate. For every 9tail and Key we seem to find 20 that see the West as the land of fire-breathing dragons, and only like 20% of it seems to be connected to loli and rape porn.

1 hour ago, Zalor said:

A lot of work went into all of these kamige, a lot of negotiating happened to get the opportunity for an English localization, and then a lot of effort also went into translating and creating an English version. To then see DDLC (which Im sure lots of hard work went into it, but comparatively not as much) succeed so much more is frustrating. But whats most frustrating, is that DDLC made a huge hit, but there was little trickle down (from my observation at least). Meaning, DDLC's success doesn't seem to have created a significant amount of new VN fans. This is quite contrary to Katawa Shoujo, which actually brought in a lot of westerners into this niche medium.  

As somebody who has been on and off active in the VN community for almost 6 years, I see DDLC as a project done by a complete outsider who only subverted the stereotypes of VNs and who made little homage (aside from mockery and subversion) of VNs. While Katawa Shoujo was a sort of love song to VNs, DDLC feels like an outsider making fun of this niche. Granted, it did do some very interesting things. But I think it had a minimal net positive impact in expanding the market for Japanese VNs, if not had a slightly negative influence. 

I would love to see someone try to quantify that (ex. by the influx of people into r/visualnovels or VN groups and curator accounts on Steam). I've noticed that the problem is at least a double-edged one - that is, people trying to get into the VN fandom after being intrigued by DDLC were treated like lepers by the community and the burning hatred for the game is just as alive in the more obnoxious parts of it to this day. Can't say I'd be encouraged by it if DDLC was my point of entry. Even more, as someone who was introduced to the niche by an EVN, it was mostly my peculiar state of mind at the time (I was unreasonably motivated to explore the niche and write about it) that made me not run for the hills after seeing how most people treat those non-JP games. Katawa Shoujo, on the other hand, was such a crystallized piece of JP VN appreciation that I've seen some people being weirded out by the realization that it's "technically an EVN". In the end, I find it quite predictable that games which rely on community marketing alone, with a community that is too good to even fraternize with the lesser breeds of weeb, won't get very far. :>

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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17 hours ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

Although, maybe nothing less than the Western market being a goldmine would motivate some of them to expand. I can't say I ever got anywhere close to understanding the logic behind how some of these companies operate. For every 9tail and Key we seem to find 20 that see the West as the land of fire-breathing dragons, and only like 20% of it seems to be connected to loli and rape porn.

I would love to see someone try to quantify that (ex. by the influx of people into r/visualnovels or VN groups and curator accounts on Steam). I've noticed that the problem is at least a double-edged one - that is, people trying to get into the VN fandom after being intrigued by DDLC were treated like lepers by the community and the burning hatred for the game is just as alive in the more obnoxious parts of it to this day. Can't say I'd be encouraged by it if DDLC was my point of entry. Even more, as someone who was introduced to the niche by an EVN, it was mostly my peculiar state of mind at the time (I was unreasonably motivated to explore the niche and write about it) that made me not run for the hills after seeing how most people treat those non-JP games. Katawa Shoujo, on the other hand, was such a crystallized piece of JP VN appreciation that I've seen some people being weirded out by the realization that it's "technically an EVN". In the end, I find it quite predictable that games which rely on community marketing alone, with a community that is too good to even fraternize with the lesser breeds of weeb, won't get very far. :>

Your assessment of Japanese companies seeing the west as a totally alien and dangerous land is unfortunately mostly true. It baffles me as well. As far as I can tell, Japanese companies don't seem to be motivated by profit in the same way western companies are. For instance, if a Japanese company could increase its domestic profits at the expense of international profits (even if these international profit rake in much more), they would do it. What Konami did to itself is probably the most high profile example.

As for the toxicity of the VN community, I think its because it is so small and niche. So when newcomers join, I think the experience is much akin to a complete foreigner moving to a rural tight-knit village in a foreign country. There are established customs and rules that everyone follows, and an outsider is seen initially as a potential threat, and then as a potential friend second. If you stick around long enough and get to know the community, then a closeness develops in a way that wouldn't happen if you moved to a big city, even if everyone is more accepting from the beginning. Niche communities are nice places to stay once you're settled in, but its pain to first get settled. (The movie Local Hero is a sweet film that captures this process really well). I think that phenomenon is identical in digital communities. And unfortunately there is such a huge divide between JP VN fans and the EVLN as well as Steam VN communities, that I think they are more like rival villages at this point than a unified country.

15 hours ago, novurdim said:

Wait, are we blaming Subahibi's results on DDLC now of all things? Am I reading this right? My mind just literally went kaboom.

That horse has already been beaten to death.

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Is it sells of English version or Japanese?.. 

UPD. Ah, English sells... I wonder why sales on West can be worse than in Japanese market, when everything is terrible because competition...

Edited by Veshurik

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1 hour ago, Veshurik said:

I wonder why sales on West can be worse than in Japanese market, when everything is terrible because competition...

Because in the West barely anyone knows what (plot-driven) eroge is, let alone buys such stuff. The competition in Japan might be crazy and driving many companies into the ground, but it's a competition on a large and well-established market, instead of ultra-niche one the English versions have to work with. SubaHibi shows this especially well, because it's massively successful in Japan and here basically gets the interest of particularly dedicated VN geeks (70% of whom probably pirated it anyway, because that's how the VN community works, for around two decades now). 

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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28 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

Because in the West barely anyone knows what (plot-driven) eroge is, let alone buys such stuff.

Sadly this. As we can see going by how stuff like Nekopara are highly successful, people buy their eroge for their ero. The fact that Subahibi in particular have ultra niche fetishes like bestiality and futanari also doesn't help in attracting that crowd either.

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Well, you know, about toxic VN community... For example, Russian VN community (I was born in Russia) is completely terrible in those terms, if you even try to discuss something, there are always some shit on your head, neither you are right or not. 

You are a lot better, to be honest. At least, you are not be rude with everyone near. So, I don't know English very well, but at least I can express my opinion here, and I won't be blamed or something else for that. 

 

What's about sales on the West... To be honest, I thought, that your audience is a lot more solvency than in Russia. I don't wanna talk about wages etc, but piracy in our country is already a normal state, and I understand that. Thanks to Steam and regional prices, because, for example, I can't afford myself to buy 40$ VN, just because usually it's 1/3 of montly wage. 

But on the West? When other wages exists, and paying 20$ for you is like going to cafe (I just only heard that, if it's not right, please, correct me). 

That's why I'm surprised that big VNs doesn't sell well even on the West. 40$ for full price (4 routes, for example) VN is normal for you, right?

 

I'm sorry to bringing that topic to such a thread, but I'm just interested, what the differences. 

 

Maybe, that's one else reason, why we are (maybe never) won't get any official releases of VN in Russian, because it's absolutely not profitable. We don't have any company who can be worked on that. Well... We have a market for manga and ranobe, and anime also, but... Everything related to that is also not so easy to discuss, because at least we should stabilize things about that mass-media, before going to VNs... If it even will be profitable.

 

As I can see, even titles on the West can be a flop, so, what did I even try to say...

 

And, by the way, we also have some fan-translation VNs in Russian, but the worst thing is that community usually "blame" almost every translation (well, not community, but some people always), even if it is very good. I really don't understand what's wrong but sometimes I just wanna leave that country.

Edited by Veshurik

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3 hours ago, Veshurik said:

I can't afford myself to buy 40$ VN, just because usually it's 1/3 of montly wage. 

If your monthly wage is 7500 rub then you really have much bigger problems than toxic community or anything else, it's a lot less than even the official minimum wage for the country. Who do you even have to work as to earn that little? Is that how horrible myths about "mother russia" are spread?

Edited by novurdim

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2 hours ago, Veshurik said:

But on the West? When other wages exists, and paying 20$ for you is like going to cafe (I just only heard that, if it's not right, please, correct me). 

That's why I'm surprised that big VNs doesn't sell well even on the West. 40$ for full price (4 routes, for example) VN is normal for you, right?

That depends on what you do when you go to a café. At least in Germany a tall coffee in a café costs something between 2,50€ and 4€ (3$-5$) depending on where you go. 20$ (18€) is closer to what you pay for a pizza plus soda and a small side dish in a restaurant.

50+ hour VNs usually cost 27-40€ (31-46$) on Steam so they are affordable (although not cheap) for most people. I think it's more about the size of the target audience and its willingness to pay these prices than people not being able to pay for VNs (the reasons have already been discussed in this thread). Also these prizes are still high enough to deter people outside the fanbase since spending 30€ for something you are not really sure if you're going to like it at all is still something most people aren't willing to do.

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3 hours ago, novurdim said:

If your monthly wage is 7500 rub then you really have much bigger problems than toxic community or anything else, it's a lot less than even the official minimum wage for the country. Who do you even have to work as to earn that little? Is that how horrible myths about "mother russia" are spread?

It's somewhat true... But I don't wanna dig in that topic, sorry.

 

Anyway, I just discussed the problem with our community, maybe, that's not right topic, but still. But yeah, full price eroge (they usually costs 8800 yen in Japan) is really difficult to afford for even Western users, as I can see? Well, all that I have are rumors about that -  "20$ is like usual pocket money for 1 day". Maybe, you also have some rumors about out country, but some can be true, some can be not... Sorry for my English again.

 

For example, if we talk about Steam, we usually have 1/4 original price of game. If VN costs 40$, we can buy it for 10$, and 10$ is already high price for the game in our comparison. But console games are really costful (usually 60$ for any PS4 new game), and that is... Well, yeah... Because it is console games? 

 

If I ever will create VN, I perfectly understand, that it won't sell well in Russia, because that country has really low solvency. Only if 1 hour game for 1$ or something like that.

 

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15 minutes ago, Veshurik said:

For example, if we talk about Steam, we usually have 1/4 original price of game. If VN costs 40$, we can buy it for 10$, and 10$ is already high price for the game in our comparison. But console games are really costful (usually 60$ for any PS4 new game), and that is... Well, yeah... Because it is console games?

Because Sony doesn't have regional pricing and PS games in Rus are often even more pricey than in US somehow. And they still sell, russian distributors aren't bankrupt, Russia is still a relatively important market to Sony, a lot of games are dubbed in russian. Same with Nintendo. If you have it that bad then I sympathize with your situation but your generalized descriptions are extremely over the top, some are borderline crazy. I don't earn as much when compared to some of my peers and still can afford console games and VNs on a regular basis. It's like you are talking about Burundi (and I am very sorry for being rude to burundians).

27 minutes ago, Veshurik said:

Anyway, I just discussed the problem with our community, maybe, that's not right topic

Can't say I'm very active in any communities but from what I see they are generally the same for both russian- and english-speaking crowds. True, VNs aren't exactly very popular in Russia but it's not like VNs are often officially translated in any other language than english or chinese for obvious reasons. And it's not because they are too expensive, they are just not popular enough, it's a very niche entertainment. There are still some decent jp-rus fan-translators who are clearly loved by the people, have literally never seen anyone running around blaming them for the translation. What is that even supposed to mean? Like that guy on twitter who blames eng translations for tainting his kamiges? lol

I'm not sure what was your point and by now I don't even know why I'm having this weird conversation. But I do recommend you to stop this whole "you are all so rich, i'm so shocked noone bought subahibi" shtick, it's uncomfortable to even look at.

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On 2.02.2019 at 5:41 PM, MaggieROBOT said:

The fact that Subahibi in particular have ultra niche fetishes like bestiality and futanari also doesn't help in attracting that crowd either.

Yeah, tbh that's enough to put me off, no matter how good the plot might be. For similar reasons I'm not even touching Euphoria and similar titles.

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24 minutes ago, adamstan said:

Yeah, tbh that's enough to put me off, no matter how good the plot might be. For similar reasons I'm not even touching Euphoria and similar titles.

I know it's an unpopular opinion, but I feel like an all-ages version of SubaHibi would be better... A lot of h-scenes are there just for shock value, or for lolz. :makina: Though, I suddenly recalled when I was typing this, I actually liked yuri scenes at the very beginning.

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7 minutes ago, Dreamysyu said:

I know it's an unpopular opinion, but I feel like an all-ages version of SubaHibi would be better... A lot of h-scenes are there just for shock value, or for lolz. :makina: Though, I suddenly recalled when I was typing this, I actually liked yuri scenes at the very beginning.

"All-ages" might be a bit of a stretch (because even without H-content it probably wouldn't be suitable for kids ;)) , but "non-ero" certainly.

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On 2/2/2019 at 5:41 PM, MaggieROBOT said:

Sadly this. As we can see going by how stuff like Nekopara are highly successful, people buy their eroge for their ero. The fact that Subahibi in particular have ultra niche fetishes like bestiality and futanari also doesn't help in attracting that crowd either.

I can buy the futanari as it's part of a sexual fantasy, but the bestiality? It wasn't supposed to be nowhere near fetish pandering. It was a disgusting scene and it conveyed that. Though in all honesty, the game dropped the scene and then didn't touch it in any significant way. In a way, Kimika's and Zakuro's abuse scenes where even more shocking.

In fact I believe the H scenes in Subahibi serve as a tool to make the game spicier and more shocking. And if you delve into those yuri scenes between Yuki and Tsukasa, it can get disturbing if you've played the whole game. My point is, there's not much fap material in Subahibi really.

Edited by Okarin

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9 minutes ago, Okarin said:

In a way, Kimika's and Zakuro's abuse scenes where even more shocking.

I personally felt these were just way to long. Long enough that they started to lose their impact, and I started feeling like I was reading cheap hentai.

This chapter was still the best imo.

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56 minutes ago, Okarin said:

I can buy the futanari as it's part of a sexual fantasy, but the bestiality? It wasn't supposed to be nowhere near fetish pandering. It was a disgusting scene and it conveyed that. Though in all honesty, the game dropped the scene and then didn't touch it in any significant way. In a way, Kimika's and Zakuro's abuse scenes where even more shocking.

In fact I believe the H scenes in Subahibi serve as a tool to make the game spicier and more shocking. And if you delve into those yuri scenes between Yuki and Tsukasa, it can get disturbing if you've played the whole game. My point is, there's not much fap material in Subahibi really.

Oh, I actually agree with you. I read that the CG only stays on screen for, what, a minute? I really can't stomach bestiality, but I can see myself bearing with it for a short while for the sake of a good plot.

The thing is: not everyone is willing to do the same. What I tried to say is that a bestiality tag, sexualized or not, disgusting or not, just being there is enough to scare people away from it. More than that, if you have the bestiality tag blacklisted on VNDB, Subahibi even fails to appear in any search results. Because the tag is there.

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3 minutes ago, Okarin said:

Bestiality actually makes 0% of Subahibi, accurate.

To be honest, I understand the need to tag content and stuff, but people seriously went overboard in the VNDB page. I didn't read it, but I'm guessing 10% of the stuff tagged there also only makes 0% of Subahibi, and yet it'll make it way easier to be blacklisted.

Spoiler

Like, there's also a Ryona tag there too, another thing I dislike. If I REALLY wanted to find reasons not to read it, those tags aren't helping.

 

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This discussion thread has made me curious. It sounds like a VN I could very well like - long and with heavy stuff in it, not your everyday read. I got it offered on Steam quite a few times but as many people here noted the description was so vague and weird that I never seriously considered it. So before I am going for it: this is the Steam version we are talking about, right? People mentioned the game was censored? Do I miss important stuff when I don't have these censored scenes available? I played quite a few Steam VNs and so far I never had the feeling I missed out on anything just because I didn't get to see a few H-scenes (all the Muv-Luv VNs for example).

and yes, I know there is a patch for that censored stuff but if it is nothing important I won't bother looking for it.

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47 minutes ago, AustriaVNFan said:

and yes, I know there is a patch for that censored stuff but if it is nothing important I won't bother looking for it.

It's a very unusual case, in which the Steam version without a patch is less "censored" and more of a demo. Basically, you get the initial chapters, which don't have anything that would need censoring, and the patch unlocks the whole rest of the game.

In other words, you need the patch to play it at all, not just to access the h-scenes. It's one of the weirdest Steam releases ever, not just when it goes to VNs, but at least with the patch it's pretty much identical to the Japanese version content-wise.

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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11 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

It's a very unusual case, in which the Steam version without a patch is less "censored" and more of a demo. Basically, you get the initial chapters, which don't have anything that would need censoring, and the patch unlocks the whole rest of the game.

In other words, you need the patch to play it at all, not just to access the h-scenes. It's one of the weirdest Steam releases ever, not just when it goes to VNs, but at least with the patch it's pretty much identical to the Japanese version content-wise.

Wow, that really sounds like a very strange release. And there is nothing mentioned about it on the steam page (at least as far as I can see)! This sounds like a pretty unstable construct so I better get the game asap before either the steam version or the patch link are removed. I just hope that this game is not similar to euphoria, I didn't like that game at all as it was lots of disgusting stuff for no real reason.

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1 hour ago, AustriaVNFan said:

Wow, that really sounds like a very strange release. And there is nothing mentioned about it on the steam page (at least as far as I can see)! This sounds like a pretty unstable construct so I better get the game asap before either the steam version or the patch link are removed. I just hope that this game is not similar to euphoria, I didn't like that game at all as it was lots of disgusting stuff for no real reason.

It's more like an artefact of the time when it was released. Steam didn't allow 18+ content back then and didn't allow the published to link the 18+ patches on the Steam store page or discussion threads. It, indeed, only added to the confusion from the already poorly-handled release, but I wouldn't be worried about anything being deleted etc., the game was released a while ago.

And well, I didn't play Subahibi, but from what I know it's not anywhere close to euphoria, at least when it goes to the amount of h-content. It's not a fetish/porn game with a story attached to it, but a story-driven one with some porn in it and even if the hentai scenes in it can be extreme, they are so for storytelling purposes, rather than as fapping material.

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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No Lesiak. I disagree. The whole marketing was a disaster as a whole, because they didn't even advertise the darker side of the game in the kickstarter beforehand, which also just barely made it because of the die-hard fans and the shills who conveyed the message that this game is the next coming of jesus. I read it fully and i was blown away by it, but after reading different VNs that what flashed me earlier felt so incredible felt incredibly washed away. Anyways, it was advertised as a yurigame based on the screenshots on steam and the games description was abysmal. They could've shown darker (not porny) pictures and screenshots in the steam showcase, but they decided not to and got burnt for it. I still assume this was planned because the game teaches you to look beyond superficiality, and use that as a plot/marketing element. Well, we can say that it definitely failed.

It's not that good of a VN, unless you understand the deep notions of how the characters display different types of personalities. It depends on which point in your eroge career you read this game. As a novice you will get blown away because you haven't seen anything like it before, but delve into the denpagenre (ex. Sayonara o Oshiete) and consume other darker stories, and you see where subahibi falls flat on its face. And all kinds of philosophical infodropping doesn't help sewing up the issues either.

Also the main problem with the sales was that everyone who was interested in Subahibi at this point pirated it already.



If you want to know how abysmal that description was:

Quote

 

"Down the Rabbit-Hole" - a story of the sky and the world.

One day, Minakami Yuki witnesses a stuffed toy falling through the air.

Battered and worn, how many times has this doll fluttered downwards, released as an attempted offering to the sky? 
An offering to the sky - a way to find the "day we return to the sky"; a ritual passed down in this town since times gone by.
Those efforts shall come to fruition in the place where the girls of earth and sky meet.

Vega and Altair, Orihime and Hikoboshi, two points of light separated by the vast Milky Way.
Together with Deneb, crown of the Northern Cross, they make up the Summer Triangle.
Evoking the concept of the Trinity, this formation is also known as the "heavenly triangle".

When this heavenly triangle shines overhead, the world and the sky will meet.

Takashima Zakuro, Wakatsuki Kagami, and Wakatsuki Tsukasa, and our heroine Minakami Yuki set off on the search of that place where the points of the divine triangle cross, where world and sky join together.

 

Sounds like a Pulltop Moege to me, especially because of the Summer Triangle thing, a theme that has been completely drained by a platitude of different moege before.

Edited by EroHataVNI

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