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Arunaru not working anymore with mangagamer

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I was already pretty pessimistic about the VN industry and it was quite obvious that there where a lot of problems. (Sekai Project having to let go staff, Sol Press comments about piracy, the comments about there not being enough translators and so on.) But it is quite shocking to see these problems being pushed in the spotlight.

Maybe the VN translation business is really not viable in it's current form. Really sad.

And no one can dismiss what he says, there are a lot of people from the VN scene that confirm these problems.

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Considering the sales I wonder if the english VN localizations will collapse. Recently there has been so many new titles and so many companies, honestly I doubt the paying part of the VN community is big enough to keep the different companies going even with those really low wages. I think the only way to really make it work would be to get more of the anime fans into VNs, basically we need to increase the amount of people who are into VNs or I doubt the industry will surive for long, at least in a good state. Of course there also is the big problem of exploitation of fans, while I knew it was bad I didn't know it was quite this bad, sad that such tactics are what can allow MG to be the company that has the best english VN library.

Edited by bakauchuujin

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I wonder if decades from now, someone will analyse VN localization companies and discover a cycle of "fantranslation scene thrives-localization companies get daring enough to invest in VNs-said companies give up because of low sales-fantranslation scene thrives again".

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15 minutes ago, bakauchuujin said:

Considering the sales I wonder if the english VN localizations will collapse. Recently there has been so many new titles and so many companies, honestly I doubt the paying part of the VN community is big enough to keep the different companies going even with those really low wages. I think the only way to really make it work would be to get more of the anime fans into VNs, basically we need to increase the amount of people who are into VNs or I doubt the industry will surive for long, at least in a good state.

The increase probably won't happen – or rather, not on a scale that would bring some kind of paradigm shift when it goes to the viability of VN localisation. With the casual audience being more interested in cheap EVN and small, easily-digestible games like the ones Sekai pushes out on a regular basis... The scene will simply have to scale down and/or change its marketing strategies significantly.

I also imagine the availability of fan translators willing to work on poverty wages will decrease even further over time. Maybe we're reaching the natural barrier of sorts for MangaGamer's decade-old business model, it'd be interesting to see whether they're able to come up with something new to make the whole thing more profitable.

Just now, onorub said:

I wonder if decades from now, someone will analyse VN localization companies and discover a cycle of "fantranslation scene thrives-localization companies get daring enough to invest in VNs-said companies give up because of low sales-fantranslation scene thrives again".

2

My massive backlog suggests to me that fan translations will never be as needed as they were a decade ago, even if half of the localisation companies go out of business. :P

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22 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

The increase probably won't happen – or rather, not on a scale that would bring some kind of paradigm shift when it goes to the viability of VN localisation. With the casual audience being more interested in cheap EVN and small, easily-digestible games like the ones Sekai pushes out on a regular basis... The scene will simply have to scale down and/or change its marketing strategies significantly.

Ofc I don't really expect it to happen, but I think this is the only thing that would really work, which means since it is very unlikely the current english VN industry will probably collapse (not sure how long, but within a few years wouldn't surprise me). Currently VNs are generally being ignored in pretty much all anime people with a following, if anyone talk about hentai it is either eroanime or eromanga, never nukige (just look at the recent hentai videos nux taku is doing which seems really popular). Even people who have previously done lets play of VNs now pretty much never mention it, the Anime Man for instance would much rather recommend a unknown manga because it is so special for having romance development both before the relationship and after the characters have gotten together while ignoring VNs where this is very typical. I don't know how much influense things like youtube has on people reading or buying VNs but VNs are clearly ignored on youtube by pretty much all of the anime channels that are somewhat big while they put focus on anime, manga and LNs. Of course youtube is just one place, but I would expect VNs very rarely get talked about outside of the VN community compared to other otaku media.

Edited by bakauchuujin

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It really hurts to read this. I don't know what Sekai, Jast or one of the other English VN publishers pay translators, so it's hard to judge if MangaGamer pays more or less in comparison. But MG's main translator Kouryuu was always open about the low payment. He even went so far to suggest NOT to work as a VN translator. That's not to say that I couldn't understand Arunaru. If agreements are broken that's definitely not something to taken lightly, especially for such an efficient translator like Arunaru. I wouldn't be surprised if that has something to do with their recent payment processor issues. That must have been a huge hit for them.

However, there are two other things Arunaru might have a point. First, MangaGamer's refusal to use Kickstarter. While I can understand that it's a bit of an unreliable affair, it's definitely something that should be considered for some special projects if it allows better payment of the involved translators and editors.

Second, the number of sold copies per title doesn't seem to have increased so much since their earlier times. 500 - 2000 copies was a reasonable number in the past as well. Just that they are selling more VN's now. But that also means that Steam is an important thing because it allows much higher sales numbers. And what I'm a bit irritated about is that MG doesn't seem to use the trick of cutting out adult content from a title into a separate adult DLC to get it through the Steamquisition. Pretty much all other VN publishers do that, and if it means selling several thousand more copies you HAVE TO at least try to do it.

Anyway, I don't think getting rid of all western VN publishers is the solution. Being back to fan translations and earning exactly 0 cent per character doesn't exactly sound like an improvement. Maybe VN translator is something you can only do part time if you love the medium.

Edited by ChaosRaven

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4 hours ago, NowItsAngeTime said:

Zehaffen, an editor at Sol Press, made a twitter thread argument against company exploitation and how freelancers themselves can do things that are just as exploitable while trying to look saintly

I've never seen or heard of a freelancer being the one doing the exploiting. I'm sorry Ange, but I call bullshit on it. There are definitely bad people here and there, but in this tightly knit community, I believe we would have already heard of those "evil freelancers" who screw over companies by now. And even if there were such cases, they are in minority compared to what companies are doing to freelancers.

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I have mixed feelings on this.

I am aware that this market isn't particularly lucrative, and it could be one of those cases where investing more in labor may be a risky move. I don't know if I'd consider this exploitation either, or at least not on the level of companies like Valve or Amazon. Plus, passion jobs typically don't pay well unless you're self-employed (and even that requires tremendous effort). You work a job you love to death at the expense of everything else. It's not a work philosophy I would advocate for because life is just too miserable when you don't make that much, but the choice is there.

Still, not even $10k a year? Even if it was for a passion job, that's a pretty embarrassing salary. I can see why anyone would regret it after a while.

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That guy needs to grow up. If he wants money, what is he doing translating japanese eroge?

That aside, talk about complete lack of professionalism, self-entitlement and narcissism. I'm tired of people nowadays taking their problems onto social media and constantly virtue signalling.

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6 hours ago, Kenshin_sama said:

Still, not even $10k a year? Even if it was for a passion job, that's a pretty embarrassing salary. I can see why anyone would regret it after a while.

While 4k characters a day is normal in the usual translation business (people there are lazy tbh), in the VN business it is not that unsual to do 15k characters a day (and some people have gone as high as 30k characters a day for a short time but that kills you.)

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31 minutes ago, Narcosis said:

That guy needs to grow up. If he wants money, what is he doing translating japanese eroge?

That aside, talk about complete lack of professionalism, self-entitlement and narcissism. I'm tired of people nowadays taking their problems onto social media and constantly virtue signalling.

what an asinine remark. the guy merely warned about how shitty the pay is, and the constant cost cutting measures affecting quality. if virtue signalling is "please pay me something livable" and then leaving when the company refuses, then consider me a virtue signaler. if all the employees just keep their mouths shut then nothing changes. If companies like SP and MG are unable to survive without worker exploitation, then they deserve to go under. You seem like the kind of person that would have defended the government for their actions during various union busting exercises. After all, workers were virtue signaling and taking their problems into the public sphere by demanding 8 hour work days. 

 

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15 minutes ago, solidbatman said:

what an asinine remark. the guy merely warned about how shitty the pay is, and the constant cost cutting measures affecting quality. if virtue signalling is "please pay me something livable" and then leaving when the company refuses, then consider me a virtue signaler. if all the employees just keep their mouths shut then nothing changes. If companies like SP and MG are unable to survive without worker exploitation, then they deserve to go under. You seem like the kind of person that would have defended the government for their actions during various union busting exercises. After all, workers were virtue signaling and taking their problems into the public sphere by demanding 8 hour work days.

The guy has a choice. I'm not defending MG in this case, as they're a business highly fraught with issues, but downplaying them to suit a single side is just hilarious. You should know best, of all the people. This IS NOT an industry for sensible people looking for stable, high-paid jobs and judging from where we're heading with all the latest surfacing problems, I doubt it'll ever change.

Edited by Narcosis

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19 minutes ago, Narcosis said:

The guy has a choice. I'm not defending MG in this case, as they're a business highly fraught with issues, but downplaying them to suit a single side is just hilarious. You should know best, of all the people. This IS NOT an industry for sensible people looking for stable, high-paid jobs and judging from where we're heading with all the latest surfacing problems, I doubt it'll ever change.

The guy does have a choice, yes. he exercised it and you called it narcissism and virtue signalling that he warned others. Your obvious personal distaste for the guy aside, I am failing to understand your point. If the industry cannot survive without exploitation of worker passion, then the industry should not survive. The demand to support higher wages isn't there and MG along with other companies deserve to go out of business. Unfortunately, the VN community is stupidly passionate about working for free and taking for free, so yes, you are right. I doubt much changes. Maybe it's just the fact I study a lot of worker exploitation, have first hand experience with worker exploitation, but I will always supporter someone wanting a livable wage. The translator made a choice and is being paid better by translating mobile games. So I'm glad he made a choice while also telling others where they might be able to make more money and live more comfortably in a different market. 

 

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42 minutes ago, solidbatman said:

The guy does have a choice, yes. he exercised it and you called it narcissism and virtue signalling that he warned others. Your obvious personal distaste for the guy aside, I am failing to understand your point. If the industry cannot survive without exploitation of worker passion, then the industry should not survive. The demand to support higher wages isn't there and MG along with other companies deserve to go out of business. Unfortunately, the VN community is stupidly passionate about working for free and taking for free, so yes, you are right. I doubt much changes. Maybe it's just the fact I study a lot of worker exploitation, have first hand experience with worker exploitation, but I will always supporter someone wanting a livable wage. The translator made a choice and is being paid better by translating mobile games. So I'm glad he made a choice while also telling others where they might be able to make more money and live more comfortably in a different market.

There's not much of advocating caution in here; all the TLs know about this. Every sensible community member knows about it. It's more of a market problem and balancing between profitability and future versus labour satisfaction in an ever increasingly hostile growing waters. If all the publishers go down under, there won't be any market and no games; It's all back to unofficial translations and piracy. As such, MG will either go bust or will have to adjust their wages, if applicable. Free market.

That aside, there's a very delicate line between balancing worker rights and market needs. I doubt vns and eroge have any place in this cucked future, hence I'm expecting things to only grow worse on the west. For a while, Steam had a chance to open up a new market, but they chose to pander to the left-wing social justice activists instead. Off-site adult patches can only take it as far and as expected from latest developments - if a game is deemed "harmful", target audience does not matter; as a developer, you're being devoid of any chance to publish your works. Does that mean all-ages games are the only choice? Not really, since they're often rejected as well. Without a large, safe and stable outlet, there's no chance for this industry to fix itself out of it's own problems.

Maybe it's time for the devs, publishers and community to sit down and have a chat?

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7 hours ago, Narcosis said:

cucked future

7 hours ago, Narcosis said:

pander to the left-wing social justice activists instead

Holy fuck, the incelspeak is strong with you. Steam is pandering to SJW? You think that's where child porn laws are coming from? That's fuckin' delusional. 

Western ideas about porn and the general idea of porn and art/serious entertainment incompatible with each other are possibly the biggest factor keeping VNs niche. Those have nothing to do with SJW positions. You can blame the "leftist culture" strawman as much as you want, but you'll be just deluding yourself.

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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43 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

Holy fuck, the incelspeak is strong with you. Steam is pandering to SJW? You think that's where child porn laws are coming from? That's fuckin' delusional. 

Western ideas about porn and the general idea of porn and art/serious entertainment incompatible with each other are possibly the biggest factor keeping VNs niche. Those have nothing to do with SJW positions. You can blame the "leftist culture" strawman as much as you want, but you'll be just deluding yourself.

Naivety at it's finest.

Do you even know who's actually influencing these laws in the first place? If there's any sort of strawman to be had, it's blaming the current industry issues on cultural differences; the greatest otaku demise of it all. Furthermore, are we talking about vns or precisely about 18+ eroge counterparts? There's a major difference between these two. One is a self-restricting niche, the other is just not as popular and won't ever be. This brings us to the beginning point - how in the world are you expecting an ultra niche market to sustain it's profitability, while satisfying everyone's needs? But hey - it's much easier to look for scapegoats, than take responsibility for one's own actions.

Edited by Narcosis

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2 hours ago, Narcosis said:

Naivety at it's finest.

Do you even know who's actually influencing these laws in the first place? If there's any sort of strawman to be had, it's blaming the current industry issues on cultural differences; the greatest otaku demise of it all.

Like, really? Give me the proof that the global histeria about child porn is a leftist idea. Or lead me to those giant shops with pornographic media in major cities in the West. Las Vegas doesn't count. Or to any Western media that combines serious storytelling and porn that is not clearly Japanese-inspired. Those 5 hyper-niche new wave movies don't count. 

2 hours ago, Narcosis said:

Furthermore, are we talking about vns or precisely about 18+ eroge counterparts? There's a major difference between these two. One is a self-restricting niche, the other is just not as popular and won't ever be. This brings us to the beginning point - how in the world are you expecting an ultra niche market to sustain it's profitability, while satisfying everyone's needs? But hey - it's much easier to look for scapegoats, than take responsibility for one's own actions.

You can hardly separate the two outside of literally a few franchises which achieved mainstream popularity. Half of them owned by Spike Chuunsoft which treated its expansion to the West seriously and without aiming at the super-niche VN community, but marketing them as any other games. Most other VNs are weighted down by just the same stigmas and cultural misunderstandings. For people not knowing much about the genre Clannad looks quite similar to any "creepy dating sim" or "hentai game". I didn't say there are easy answers to it, but I think you have a point about trying to please everyone. Because VN companies aren't willing to dedicate themselves to one or another, they keep their whole output is this weird shady corner. If they drop porn, they might gain something in the long run by creating a different image for the genre (or not, because it's reading and other unpopular stuff), but kill themselves in the short run by alienating the eroge fan base. If they do nothing, they'll never break through and are destined to forever barely scrape by. If they just focus on ero... Not sure if they can grow that much as porn games. We're fucked. 

On the other hand, there might be solutions that we didn't think of yet. MangaGamer seem to follow a truly Japanese philosophy of changing as little as it is possible as long as it's even marginally sustainable, so they'll probably not be the ones to come up with one. And there's the issue of number of releases, which is in no way a clear one to me. Would less releases/less competition mean larger profit margins for the companies? Is the market oversaturated? Maybe Sol Press with their "love of the medium" are not really helping the niche, but adding another nail to its coffin? Anyway, my prediction is not a full implosion of the publishing market, but downscaling. The same seems to be happening to the EVN scene (which is very "SJW" BTW) for both related and unrelated reasons. We can all "stop scapegoating" and try to "take responsibility"... But then what? 

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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When it comes to the left wing stuff I think the reason a lot of people blame them is that you have companies like Sony mentioning things like Me too (which I think is a good movement, though in some cases like this seems to be missused) as a reason for censoring games in japan as well as people using 3rd wave femanist agenda to prevent games like dead or alive extreeme 3 to get a western release. When it comes to consoles the left and SJW generally are considered the bad guys causing censorship. As for steam I think it is different as they there use child exploitation as a reason to ban something, ofc they lack consistancy but the important thing is that from what I have seen the steam ban thing doesn't seem to do with the left wing or SJWs.

 

As for what I think actually is going on is just that a lot of prudish people use whatever excuse they can to get things they don't like, 3rd wave femenism is a thing that is supported by the main stream media therefore it is easy to just try to draw some bullshit from there and use it to ban something you don't like. People hate pedophilia therefore lets try to equate anime games with pedophilia because we don't like anime games etc. I don't really think these things are that political I think people just use the politics they see has the best effect to ban what they want banned. You want something banned because you are religious and think it is sinfull, well most people won't listen to you if you are honest in the western part of the world so just twist some talking points from something more sociably accepted to further your censorship goal.

 

A clear example of this is that one organisation that claimed to be responsible for steam censorship (don't remember their name) even though they weren't. They were clearly motivated by religion, if you digged into their arguments on their main site and looked at the people involved this is quite clear, however on twitter they used generally rhetoric about exploitation as well as things that could fit into the SJW category if I remember correctly. So pretty much their public stance which most people saw was ban all porn ficitional and live action because it exploits people, human traficing etc. while on their site they had articles about how bad it is that soft core porn is becoming available in some muslim countries and BS about how it negativly effects marriage, which if you read a bit of it you see there is no real science behind it.

Edited by bakauchuujin

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