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aliciarune

Visual Novel Steam Sales Declining?

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So, I've been checking some visual novels the last month, and I've notice people don't seem to be buying them much. Like, for example, games like Hello Goodbye,Trinoline and Nurse Love Syndrome barely have reviews. I'm wondering if people are stopping playing visual novels since many don't seem to be buying them. I was really surprised by Nurse Love Syndrome since it barely has reviews and another Yuri title that came out. Also, when I was reading a review for Trinoline, a person talked about Minori went out of business due to not being able to create what they wanted to. Basically, only creating adult games with little to not story and not meaningful ones. Basically saying fans of visual novels care more about adult content then actual story. 

 

So I guess I have two questions, are visual novels sales going down, and sales for story driven visual novels going down as well? They don't seem to be doing to well, not even Sekai Project. 

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The relatively small market for Japanese VNs in the West is doing fine.  The larger market in Japan seems to be tightening, likely due to shifting demographics, oversaturation, and lack of innovation.

Edited by sanahtlig

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Thanks guys. But I do wonder why games like Nurse Love Syndrome seems to not be doing well like Nurse Love Addiction. I mean, is it too early to tell, is that why? I'm wondering about games like these whether they be JVN or EVN's

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One of the big reasons more Japanese VN companies are looking for an 'in' in the US market is because the moege/charage market over in Japan is saturated and generally in decline.  One reason we are seeing declining Steam sales is because most people tend to go for the uncensored versions that they don't allow, so they hit up the company stores instead of Steam.  The other reason is that the market here isn't growing as fast as the number of new VNs being released.  It isn't like the average income of a western VN-gamer has suddenly increased to match the output, after all.

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5 hours ago, aliciarune said:

Thanks guys. But I do wonder why games like Nurse Love Syndrome seems to not be doing well like Nurse Love Addiction. I mean, is it too early to tell, is that why? I'm wondering about games like these whether they be JVN or EVN's

I think Clephas got it right, but I would point even more decidedly towards oversaturation – the VN fan community is still very niche and the output of the localisation companies have been rising much faster than its buying power. If someone gets into VNs today, they have a huge selection of games to choose from, and VNs generally don't age as much as 3D games, so they'll be less tempted to focus on latest, and thus most expensive releases. The EVN scene also grows and the quality of those games is slowly but surely improving, so they're also picking on the JPVN revenue, especially on Steam where you have a lot of less fanatically-weeb and demanding audience.

So, it's not like VN sales have dropped much overall, I would speculate they didn't at all, they're just way more spread out. 

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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8 hours ago, aliciarune said:

Hello Goodbye,Trinoline and Nurse Love Syndrome

HGB was released before steam release. Trinoline is drama bait meh without translated fandisc that also has mosaic (no one expected this from MG). And NLS is just Yuri genre that always has unstable sells without good advertising (Don’t quote me on that, since I don't care about this genre).

Also, most people tend to choose based on companies and art style over context premise in VN (not OELVN). Can't blame them, since I'm one of them that don't like Minori or Lump of Sugar games for example. I'm sure that the next YuzuSoft game, Ao no Kanata or Hello Lady! will sell well (If NekoNyan won't forget about promotion).

Edited by ShinRaikdou

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4 hours ago, Clephas said:

The other reason is that the market here isn't growing as fast as the number of new VNs being released.  It isn't like the average income of a western VN-gamer has suddenly increased to match the output, after all.

While this may be true, the English market still has room to grow; we're not yet at the saturation point where everyone who would be interested in VNs is buying them.  The Japanese market is.  Localization costs are also much lower than producing original content, making it far easier to turn a profit reliably.

Also, the explosive success of the Subverse Kickstarter shows that there's a great latent demand for gameplay eroge that exceeds even well-loved VN franchises like MuvLuv.  I expect the largest growth in the English market will be in gameplay eroge rather than pure VNs.  It remains to be seen whether Japanese devs will be able to capture this market, but their record to date doesn't inspire much confidence.

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If there's been a drop in Steam sales for VNs, I think it's most likely a side effect of Valve's algorithm changes benefiting already-popular/AAA games and being detrimental to indie and niche games rather than anything to do with the VN scene itself. While the article focuses on Western indie games, I think it's applicable to "non-indie" VNs too--they're still very niche products that don't sell enough for a sales-based recommendation system to benefit them.

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On 5/8/2019 at 11:05 AM, ShinRaikdou said:

Trinoline is drama bait meh without translated fandisc that also has mosaic (no one expected this from MG)

???? All minori games have mosaic, how was this not expected...

Edited by Nier

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I think Nurse Love Syndrome hasn't done as well as Love Addiction to a lack in marketing I mean even me a yuri connoisseur only heard about it's release well after the fact

 

Another reason is because a lot of the better vns are being drowned by shitily translated vns and DL site spunk trash

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On 08/05/2019 at 5:14 PM, Freestyle80 said:

Steam sales might be down but more people probably buy outside of steam due to them being so anal about everything 

Yep. I buy the all ages version of visual novels on Steam if it is available there, but otherwise if it is an 18+ title, I'll grab it elsewhere unless the free patch is also available.

Can never quite tell what they're going to permit or ban. I thought it was great when they let Kara no Shoujo onto the store, but apparently they haven't approved KnS2? 

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1 hour ago, OdaNova said:

I thought it was great when they let Kara no Shoujo onto the store, but apparently they haven't approved KnS2? 

KnS just got lucky. It was approved during the short period when Steam was allowing pretty much everything on their platform. It looks like it was their way to improve public opinion about them after the scandal caused by attempted ban of many anime games. After some time passed, they just returned to how they were originally (or, actually, went even further).

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1 hour ago, Dreamysyu said:

KnS just got lucky. It was approved during the short period when Steam was allowing pretty much everything on their platform. It looks like it was their way to improve public opinion about them after the scandal caused by attempted ban of many anime games. After some time passed, they just returned to how they were originally (or, actually, went even further).

From Valve's perspective, the people genuinely caring about the "waifu holocaust" were a tiny portion of their customer base. The change to actually allow porn, and the way it was handled were way too big of a deal to be directed at appeasing otaku.

While it's true KnS was lucky to squeeze through while Valve was figuring out its policy and only stayed because they decided to not go back on their decisions, I also don't fully agree Valve got more strict than before. Remember, porn was completely banned until the policy change and patches had to be provided outside of the platform. This meant Valve did not take any responsibility for the h-content. Now, when they host full-on eroge, they obviously have to hold them to higher scrutiny, as they're legally liable for it. They're visibly more scared of anime games than anything else, because lolis and schoolgirls, but actually they only fucked up in a very clear way twice, with Hello, Goodbye and Expression: Armilato, and backed out from both desitions. They obviously allow a lot of vile crap at the same time, as their screening system sucks and guidelines are nonexistent, but they aren't as unreasonable in their policy as some would suggest. It might be riskier to put a game with teenage romance on Steam nowadays, but there's tons of stuff that you can sell there that would never be allowed before, at least without some absurd workarounds.

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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6 hours ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

but actually they only fucked up in a very clear way twice, with Hello, Goodbye and Expression: Armilato, and backed out from both desitions.

Saying that they backed out from Hello, Goodbye isn't quite right since NN had to make additional changes to the all-ages version removing the panty shots and lingerie, you can look up Chuee's tweets about it. It's fairly obvious that they don't consider that decision a "mistake" per se. Making additional changes to the all-ages versions to appease Valve isn't even a rarity nowadays, we see it everywhere from Moenovel to EVNs. Just like those are also not the only all-ages games they have banned, from the top of my head I can remember Yotsunoha (even if we did predict it because one of the heroines looks a bit younger than usual but it still clearly wouldn't be banned under the old policy) and I'm sure there are games I'm forgetting about.

I can't say that Valve got more "strict" after the implementation of the porn content, you can't get "stricter" when there isn't really anything to compare with, it's just that they are now actually looking over certain types of games, and since Valve's guidelines are completely non-existent even light fanservice can easily get your game banned depending on the reviewer's mood. Everything is arbitrary even with all-ages games, there's no real even relatively consistent logic behind their decisions, in that sense the situation got considerably worse for the industry, nothing is worse for business than unpredictability of your main sales outlet. There are times when you can be more sure in successfully selling your game on switch than in getting it on steam so yeah, I wouldn't try to give them any objective measure as of yet.

I also don't agree with these VN STEAM DIE topics we get every few months which highlight random few games that supposedly aren't selling well yet and then make huge sensational blanket statements. Right after people were surprised how well Hitotsuba is doing on steam based on some weird internal numbers when it has the roughly same number of reviews as Trinoline (30-40)...? Or when we literally just had a very succesful launch (if you believe those same people and NN staff) of Sankaku Ren'ai? You guys also do remember the steam's peculiarity in how sales are mostly happening over time and during sales? I think pretty much every person in the industry commented about this. That's why steam is so important to them, it gives a constant stream of revenue. Even Eden didn't start all that well but turned into a real sales monster with time. I remember how I was disappointed that most MG VNs back in 2016 couldn't get even 10 reviews for a very long time but many of them turned into very fine sellers. It just shows that there have always been games with barely any reviews for months, the instant hits do happen but they are few and far in between. Heck, Subarashiki Hibi/Wonderful Everyday started with like 30-40 reviews+absolute gloom on the forum too and is now at 325. And those are all english reviews, SH doesn't have chinese TL. I don't even see any food for discussion in the OP to be honest. 

Edited by novurdim

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