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NowItsAngeTime

Western Visual Novel Publishers Often Release Games at a Loss Due to Piracy (ft. words from CEO of Sol Press, Xeviax)

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12 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

Then you definitely don't want to play Moe! Ninja Girls or any of those dozens of mobile otome it shares its business model with. ;)

Edit: I'm actually playing one ATM, just testing how unbearable it is without paying. I recetly had to farm the in-game currency for three days to clear a roadblock that literally prevented me from reading the story, despite having enough story tickets to cover two full chapters. It would cost $5 in premium currency to skip it (plus I would get a "premium version" of that story bit). I still somehow can't help but be amazed with how scummy these games are, literally the worst of the worst in mobile gaming.

Sorry for OT. :P

Lucky me, for I don't play mobile games ;) I just hope that this "model" doesn't spread to PC/console VNs (because other genres are already afflicted with it...)

Edited by adamstan

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16 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

Then you definitely don't want to play Moe! Ninja Girls or any of those dozens of mobile otome it shares its business model with. ;)

Edit: I'm actually playing one ATM, just testing how unbearable it is without paying. I recetly had to farm the in-game currency for three days to clear a roadblock that literally prevented me from reading the story, despite having enough story tickets to cover two full chapters. It would cost $5 in premium currency to skip it (plus I would get a "premium version" of that story bit). I still somehow can't help but be amazed with how scummy these games are, literally the worst of the worst in mobile gaming.

Sorry for OT. :P

I didn't know that such abominations exist...

And while I usually don't care what people spend their money on, I feel a sudden urge to punch the people that spend money on this garbage and further fuel this exploitative industry.

 

Also sorry for the OT. I am sure Kenshin_sama didn't have that in mind when proposing the idea.

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31 minutes ago, bakauchuujin said:

In terms of microtransactions I think Neko works is a company to worry about. So far they have had it in one of their titles Monmusu and they are also doing a nekopara mobile game which will surely have microtransactions Nekoparaiten!

Really, most VN companies would love to have a slice of that mobage/microtransaction cake, it's immensely more profitable than traditional eroge.  But that doesn't mean VNs as such have to die/get tainted on mass scale. Neko Works already appealed to a broad, casual audience, so cash grab spin-off from them are nothing surprising. That doesn't mean they won't make "proper" NEKOPARA anymore (for whatever that's worth). 

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You folks are talking about a mass move by Japanese VN developers toward mobage like it's a hypothetical, but from what I understand, it's pretty much a fait accompli. A large number of VN developers have already tried (and/or are currently trying) their hand at mobage. You just haven't heard much about it here since they've all have failed miserably thus far, aside from Type-Moon. So it's a bit late to be worried about that coming to suck away the attention paid to VNs—we're already in that boat.

To bring this somewhat back on topic... VN loc companies are similarly looking all around for ways to stay/become profitable. There are only two real strategies I've seen almost all of them employing, at this point: China, and console releases. For China: if you have a license for a worldwide release, why not sell to a market that actually has consistently shown they're willing to pay for VNs, enough to fund a localization effort? It's certainly profitable. For console: Switch ports seem to be profitable, maybe? Though I don't have as clear a picture on that, and there aren't a lot of data points yet. But you can look at lackluster games like Root Letter getting huge sales numbers on consoles and realize, oh yeah, there's probably something there if you play your cards right.

Now, neither of those is going to do the vast majority of people on this board much good, since we're mostly 1) not Chinese readers and 2) looking for 18+ content. As long as English 18+ release sales remain low (for whatever reasons, including but not limited to high rates of piracy), the only hope most of us have is that the VN loc companies both expand in some way that lets them make money (China, console, and/or some other means) and continue to subsidize English versions with 18+ content from those profits out of pure passion for it. That is effectively what they're doing today. Denpasoft, JAST USA, and Nekonyan are all on the China boat (Nekonyan through the Hikari Field partnership), leaving only MangaGamer in the lurch. Denpasoft and MangaGamer, at least, are both doing the non-PC thing, though MangaGamer is taking a galaxy-brain approach where they vomited up a buggy android app and then promptly forgot about it. I'd say if MangaGamer doesn't get in on the Chinese market in some way within the next year or so, I'll eat my hat, except they're so slow-moving that maybe they'll just keep trickling away dollars forever...

Anyway, subsidizing 18+ English releases like this is honestly both risky (all kinds of legal exposure they could easily avoid by just, not doing it) and bad business (because it's throwing away money with no hope of return), but all these companies are doing it anyway. And yet somehow a lot of the vocal members of the VN community treat all of them as some evil enemy, most of the time. Sigh.

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I agree with most points raised by Fred. The only thing up for debate is MangaGamer's situation. I think they're saved by Alicesoft titles. Those sell the best for them, and as long as they keep selling well, MangaGamer won't bother with the Chinese market. Eventually, though, I also see them fighting for those Chinese bucks. It's only a question of "when," not "if." One more thing... I have an impression that financially, they are currently the most stable localization company (along with JAST, I guess). I may be wrong, but that's how I see their current situation.

Edited by Infernoplex

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"Chinese bucks" are only relevant while the transactions are legal and easy.  The Chinese government is doing their best to change this.  That uncertainty is likely what's holding the major publishers back from ambitious Chinese releases of the longer 18+ VNs--you never know when the bottom will fall out of the market, and the longer the release window, the greater the risk.

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1 hour ago, sanahtlig said:

"Chinese bucks" are only relevant while the transactions are legal and easy.  The Chinese government is doing their best to change this.  That uncertainty is likely what's holding the major publishers back from ambitious Chinese releases of the longer 18+ VNs--you never know when the bottom will fall out of the market, and the longer the release window, the greater the risk.

True. We all know how the Chinese goverment can ruin the fun. That said... it has been a while since I heard of this concern about the Chinese, and it still didn't materialize. I remember hearing how there's gonna be a special part of Steam dedicated to China and how that part is gonna be walled off from all sides and moderated (read: censored) by the Chinese censors. None of that materalized yet, and I didn't see any progress was made on that front. Or maybe I just didn't pay enough attention?

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On 7/31/2019 at 4:51 AM, bakauchuujin said:

Btw can anyone think of any ways we as fans can try to increase the numbers of people buying things legally rather than pirating? Like trying to make publishers of VNs and their financial situations more known or adding where to get things legally when recommending things especially for people new to the medium or any smart ideas anyone can think of?

For Sol Press it would be to go after better, well-known games and not the obscure ones that Sol Press usually goes for like Sakura Sakura Newton(like seriously i never heard of it or the company that made it and it was boring to read) or Niche ones like Yotsuhana

 

Look at Nekonyan, they arrived at the scene almost at the same time or a bit after Sol Press and they look far more successful (I actually bought and played their titles anyway). They are going with SMEE, Yuzusoft, spirte (have you seen how successful their Aokana kickstarter was?) etc. Popular brands that are notable. They are also mostly sticking with Moege with Aokana being their first one thats not just that i believe? Hello Lady is also a chuunige i believe which is due to release soon.

 

So find it hard to believe that 1 in 5 ratio, maybe its true for his company but certainly not everyone 

 

On 7/31/2019 at 7:30 AM, Clephas said:

Newton was a poor choice overall. 

From what I've seen of their releases, their choices for localization are almost exclusively mid to low quality charage, with the only significant announcements (from the games I've played, anyway) being HHG, Irotoridori, and Witch's Garden.  All three of these are also listed as TBA, so who knows when they will come out... and they are also ridiculously long and thus expensive to translate.  

The Western market is currently on a SOL craze, but the market is already saturated.  While there isn't a variety, there is enough SOL localized to get thoroughly sick of the genre if you don't have a natural aptitude for reading that stuff constantly.  Sol Press's poor sales are occurring because they've made poor choices of games to localize (the ones that have already been completely localized).  To be blunt, none of the games they have completed localization of so far were pushed by the community before they were announced, and none of them were anywhere near the top of anyone's list to try. 

While picking titles by little-known and low-budget companies, as well as old titles that are immensely forgettable probably let them keep the money they shelled out to the Japanese side to a minimum, the titles they chose weren't titles that could compete with the higher-end SOL titles already available here in the West.  As such, Sol Press doesn't really have my sympathy.  Their own poor business practices are what are killing their profits, not piracy, though piracy does harm the industry as a whole (though not nearly as bad as companies say it does). 

 

Exactly!

Edited by Freestyle80

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3 minutes ago, Freestyle80 said:

For Sol Press it would be to go after better, well-known games and not the obscure ones that Sol Press usually goes for or the Niche ones

It could be better for commercial success, sure, but I personally prefer when the companies find a good proportion between popular and niche stuff. Obscure and niche VNs often end up being a lot better than the most popular titles, and it's possible to find a lot of hidden gems between them. It may also be a good idea to localize titles that cater to more niche audiences that don't get that many releases, so they are more likely to buy everything that gets released in their respectable niche. I guess, Mangagamer recently went this way, though they may have gone a bit overboard if you ask me. Not sure how exactly it applies to Sol Press. The only title by them that attracted my attention so far was Daresora, and you know how it went.

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6 hours ago, Dreamysyu said:

It could be better for commercial success, sure, but I personally prefer when the companies find a good proportion between popular and niche stuff. Obscure and niche VNs often end up being a lot better than the most popular titles, and it's possible to find a lot of hidden gems between them. It may also be a good idea to localize titles that cater to more niche audiences that don't get that many releases, so they are more likely to buy everything that gets released in their respectable niche. I guess, Mangagamer recently went this way, though they may have gone a bit overboard if you ask me. Not sure how exactly it applies to Sol Press. The only title by them that attracted my attention so far was Daresora, and you know how it went.

You can go that way after you are on your way but not when you are just starting up. No one knows Sol Press and they chose such an old game for their first title and an even more obscure one for their 2nd. Not to mention Sakura Sakura in the end got delayed over 6 months i think

 

 

 

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Why most of people here thinks that Newton is strange title? I knew about that game and was surprised about localizing... And that game seems good with nice art and story. I don't understand, what is wrong... 

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22 minutes ago, Veshurik said:

Why most of people here thinks that Newton is strange title? I knew about that game and was surprised about localizing... And that game seems good with nice art and story. I don't understand, what is wrong... 

Yeah, I also wouldn't agree Newrin was a bad choice. The premise was grabbing attention, art looked nice. It was not a widely-requested kamige, but I remember many people, myself included, being curious about it and the quality of releases SolPress is going to offer. Their other releases really didn't stand out though. Also not sure if they were bad picks by themselves, but the company really should've offered some variety and smaller, more flashy releases in between, to gather attention and earn some cash outside of those large, expensive projects. Even if they do all of this more from "love for VNs" and building a brand for themselves, rather than direct income, they could've done more to make it sustainable.

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Just now, Fred the Barber said:

...but they literally tried that and it failed miserably.

You mean with what? DareSora? That thing looks so niche I'm shocked it wasn't released by Fruitbat. But probably wasn't because it has a lower rating on VNDB then I thought was possible for a story-driven JVN. Unless we have a slightly different definition of "flashy", it hardly fits my description. And it's not even a self-contained short story, only a first episode of something that will probably prove pretty large in the end.

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I am also not sure if Daresora will ever be finished, because devs are silent, and Sol Press deteled all related info from their site about that game... Ehem... So, it means it is a big disaster :(

Edited by Veshurik

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33 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

But probably wasn't because it has a lower rating on VNDB then I thought was possible for a story-driven JVN.

I'm pretty sure people downvoted it because of its episodic nature rather than anything else. The game itself looked pretty decent, but it was way too short to give it even approximate rating. Like, do you rate a manga after reading just one chapter or an anime after watching first 10 minutes of its first episode? I sure don't.

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3 hours ago, Fred the Barber said:

...but they literally tried that and it failed miserably.

Then they didn't pick up a flashy enough title. This is what Xeviax should have picked up instead :D He'd be swimming in money by now. Apparently, this is where the sex games market is at.

Edited by Infernoplex

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3 hours ago, Dreamysyu said:

I'm pretty sure people downvoted it because of its episodic nature rather than anything else. The game itself looked pretty decent, but it was way too short to give it even approximate rating. Like, do you rate a manga after reading just one chapter or an anime after watching first 10 minutes of its first episode? I sure don't.

Probably devs don't have enough money, and decided to release only 1 short part of game, thinking, that they can be able to continue with profit (people will believe in project and support it).

But... Something went wrong...

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7 hours ago, Veshurik said:

I am also not sure if Daresora will ever be finished, because devs are silent, and Sol Press deteled all related info from their site about that game... Ehem... So, it means it is a big disaster :(

They've said previously that leaving it off the shop was just an oversight (but that itself is obviously telling), and I don't think they deleted information about it from their site at any point.

7 hours ago, Dreamysyu said:

I'm pretty sure people downvoted it because of its episodic nature rather than anything else. The game itself looked pretty decent, but it was way too short to give it even approximate rating. Like, do you rate a manga after reading just one chapter or an anime after watching first 10 minutes of its first episode? I sure don't.

Yeah, it's actually pretty interesting, it's just way too short, and (at $3, this is saying something...) overpriced. Could've been an interesting teaser introduction if they'd bothered to keep it up and if they'd priced it better ($1? Free?).

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On 8/4/2019 at 9:12 PM, Veshurik said:

Why most of people here thinks that Newton is strange title? I knew about that game and was surprised about localizing... And that game seems good with nice art and story. I don't understand, what is wrong... 

its nothing spectacular and it was boring for me. You can compare Sakura Sakura/Newton to like Fureraba or Sanoba Witch, see which got more hype. (looking at initial releases by recent companies) I dont remember the numbers for Nekonyan but it was decent.

 

Also Newton costs $57 for me(compared to most vns $40 and under), why would I pay that for a VN that doesnt really look any interesting? (Main girl is a loli, no ty, Also MC seems like an idiot judging by vndb). I buy triple A titles on release date ish with that type of money lol. 

 

Same with Sakura Sakura, delayed over 6 months and not that interesting of a premise. The multiple protags didnt really work. Atleast not for me. If you liked any of these two good on you I guess but most of us didnt clearly.

Edited by Freestyle80

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I loved Sakura Sakura (probably more than Fureraba, and certainly more than SukiSuki) - it somehow clicked for me, but haven't read Newton yet - the premise doesn't attract me immediately, and it indeed is quite expensive, and never gets any decent price cut during Steam sales, so I haven't bought it so far.

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23 hours ago, adamstan said:

I loved Sakura Sakura (probably more than Fureraba, and certainly more than SukiSuki) - it somehow clicked for me, but haven't read Newton yet - the premise doesn't attract me immediately, and it indeed is quite expensive, and never gets any decent price cut during Steam sales, so I haven't bought it so far.

like I keep saying, maybe you did but I didnt and seems like a lot of people didnt so that was my whole point 

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Hearing VNs pirated is new to me. I initially thought VNs are much harder to find pirated copies due to their low popularity compared to other AAA games so I just buy them all if I like.

Funnily enough, I pirated almost all AAA titles, especially ones with DRMs like Denuvo-plagued titles; but my Steam library, in contrast, half of it are Visual Novel games.

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