Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Steve

VN payment model for west

Recommended Posts

I never bought a visual novel and I think there is lot of people like me in the west (well that is why I am at Fuwanovel), this is an idea how to turn people like me into actual paying customers.

I should start why I don't buy VNs, well that is the same reason why I don't buy singleplayer games or games that didn't have beta version or trial version - I don't have so much money to risk getting something I don't like. There are some people that buy the game after they finish the pirated copy, but I am not one of them, I lack the dedication after its already finished.

With visual novels its even more trickier as I almost never know what I'm getting into, will I like a character there, will want to finish the game?

And if I worked in some Japanese company trying to push their games into west, I would definitely propose this, because this is a trend that is just so popular in Europe and US that they could earn much more than by selling full copies of the game.

Here it is:

1. Have a common route free of charge, downloadable from a site, let people play whole common route, not only the trials they have in japan. It will make them hype so much for the actual route, they will already have saves for that version, what if those are not compatible with any torrented version.

2. Let people buy specific routes "as they go", not full package at once, charge 5-10$ for long route (10+ hours), and like mentioned in previous point, people will get at the end of common (if it is any good, they will stick that long) and suddenly they will have 2 options, try to import save to torrented version OR they can click, pay for DLC and unlock the girls route. Its small investment and people are much more willing to pay 10$ every week as they read it than 60$ at once.

3. Offer some benefits for when you get the whole pack in the end as a hook, if the game has true route then people will spend ~60$ on long 6 route game to get to true end, but offer something more even for games without true route to lure people to pay even for routes they wouldn't want, let it be soundtrack or even full CG sets that people download anyway from torrent, might as well be easier to pay for the last route, try playing it and get this.

4. Don't use Japanese prices, almost nobody here will give you 120$ for a game without enjoying it greatly, however good reviewed it might be.

With this model used in west (not in japan, people there will buy 120$ VN only based on image cover, but its very different here), they will get both people that play the full game and they will end up paying the same price (hell even let those buy it up front with little discount), but mainly they will get people that would either normally torrent it and maybe played one route to see how it is, even if it is only 10$ from those for one route, its better than nothing which they get right now, maybe they will end up buying 2 routes thus earning the company even more.

If I take that into example, I could have bought Osananajimi wa Daitouryou ~My girlfriend is the President.~ from JAST for 35$ but I didn't know if it is any good, from common I already know it was very fun but I still didn't know how many routes I will play, I would buy Ell route for 10$ and now I'm reading Yukino route so that would be another, I might read Irina route and if I do, that would already be 30$, but split into several weeks.

And then I would see that I can get soundtrack and CG sets if I buy the last route, even if I didn't plan on reading it, I would probably get it, get the soundtrack and sets and in the end paid even MORE than what they ask.

Not to mention that I would probably buy full version of the next game from the same company, if I take another example there, I would have probably bought Hoshimemo or Little busters in pieces like mentioned above (and lured by the true end I would want to read it all anyway) and for next piece from that company, Iroseka and Rewrite, I would have probably bought the full pack (however that is if they would make official fast translation like 1 year after Japanese release).

I ended up spending 120€ (~160$) on phantasy star online 2 (even though SEGA then returned all the money back), now I play planetside 2 and I got 3000SC (worth 30$). When I played tribes ascend I bought 30€ (~40$) worth of weapons and boosters there too. I would have never bought either of those games if it was for full price, yet if they let me try it and lure me on some early unlocks or in case of VNs on true loli route in the end, I will spend money there.

Free to play is the way to go, if made right.

So what do you think about this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Like Crosbie Fitch always says, "Sell Music. Don't Sell Copies."

There is no good reason (given the format) to be selling you 'the-service-of-printing-you-a-copy', when that very same is being provided by another print shop down the road... for absolutely free! The printing service has been devalued to the price of 0.001 cent. however these services never reach $0. They always involve some costs. The other printing shops still have to pay for their own servers.

It is their business. It is the artists' business, nobody else's business, to find a way to produce valuable things for society so that they can sustain their own lives. It is not the business of the customers to solve their problems for them. That's called getting economics backwards.

Competing in a free market means providing a valuable service that people will be willing to pay money for. And that may-or-may-not necessarily be the service of printing people copies (not to be confused with the service of creating new arts).

When you purchase a game on steam, you are not purchasing the game (which is a packet of 2-4GB files) so much as you are purchasing the convenience of being able to make quick, cheap purchases, the convenience of being able to access it all the time, the convenience of having support, and having online multiplayer, and the convenience of having ALL your other games and ALL your friends on it.

In 21st century internet, sell things like convenience, like personalization, like recommendation, like findability, like patronage. http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/01/better_than_fre.php

How many cents in my dollar goes to the Japanese studio that made the game?

Uhh. You don't even tell me that.

Then what are you selling me? You're selling me guess-work patronage.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120904/01443220262/legacy-entertainment-industrys-business-model-charge-ridiculous-markup-copy-file-command.shtml

Unless they get over that obsolete 20th century mentality of selling printing services (thanks to protectionist copyright monopoly grants from the government that screws lateral thinking), what place will they have expanding to the West in 21st century internet?

That's why I say, "Sell Visual Novels. Don't sell copies."

/end rant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm no marketing expert, so I'll just give my response from the perspective of an everyday customer.

Yeah, I rarely ever buy VNs, because they're so expensive, especially when shipping cost's put into consideration. A lot of VNs come in thost giant boxes, too. That just increases the shipping package's size.

The true ending thing, I'm not too concerned about. My complaint about most VNs is actually the fact that they drag on for too long. Tons of unnecessary scenes, etc. Many VNs, especially indie made ones, boast about their word counts. When I see a high word count, I actually become more concerned than impressed. It just makes me suspect there are tons of fluff in there.

On the other hand, let's say they charged full price for the 5-6 hour experience of Narcissu Side2nd. I loved that linear tale so much that if I'd be charged for it, I still would have think it was worthwhile. The same thing for Kawana Misaki's route from ONE. I wouldn't even need any of the other routes from that game. Of course, this kind of stuff is subjective.

Perhaps people can be charged per route or something. Let's use Little Busters for example. The game starts off by introducing me to most of the cast. Now I might go, "Kurugaya looks awesome, so I'm going to buy her route. Komari's cute, but I don't care for her too much, so I'll pass on that one." Kind of like the MMO's micro-transactions model.

I can be more inclined to buy something if it comes with physical bonuses. Say, an artbook. Sure, you can download the scans, but it's nice to have the prints on paper. Most important, though, it still just comes down to giving me a great story. When the VN has a touching plot, suddenly, I find myself infinitely more willing to pulll out my credit card.

I say all this with the risk of getting owned, because I'm really no expert on this :).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like Crosbie Fitch always says, "Sell Music. Don't Sell Copies."

There is no good reason (given the format) to be selling you 'the-service-of-printing-you-a-copy', when that very same is being provided by another print shop down the road... for absolutely free! The printing service has been devalued to the price of 0.001 cent. however these services never reach $0. They always involve some costs. The other printing shops still have to pay for their own servers.

It is their business. It is the artists' business, nobody else's business, to find a way to produce valuable things for society so that they can sustain their own lives. It is not the business of the customers to solve their problems for them. That's called getting economics backwards.

Competing in a free market means providing a valuable service that people will be willing to pay money for. And that may-or-may-not necessarily be the service of printing people copies (not to be confused with the service of creating new arts).

When you purchase a game on steam, you are not purchasing the game (which is a packet of 2-4GB files) so much as you are purchasing the convenience of being able to make quick, cheap purchases, the convenience of being able to access it all the time, the convenience of having support, and having online multiplayer, and the convenience of having ALL your other games and ALL your friends on it.

In 21st century internet, sell things like convenience, like personalization, like recommendation, like findability, like patronage. http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/01/better_than_fre.php

How many cents in my dollar goes to the Japanese studio that made the game?

Uhh. You don't even tell me that.

Then what are you selling me? You're selling me guess-work patronage.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120904/01443220262/legacy-entertainment-industrys-business-model-charge-ridiculous-markup-copy-file-command.shtml

Unless they get over that obsolete 20th century mentality of selling printing services (thanks to protectionist copyright monopoly grants from the government that screws lateral thinking), what place will they have expanding to the West in 21st century internet?

That's why I say, "Sell Visual Novels. Don't sell copies."

/end rant

Valve(Steam owners) and CD Projekt Red(Good Old Games owners) seem to be the only two companies that care about their customers though, especially CD Projekt Red. They hate DRM and don't use it in any of their games. They even gave people a free upgrade of The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition if people still had and inputted their Witcher 2 CD Key. Valve likes to give away a lot of the DLC they make for free. Plus, Steam sales are awesome. Getting a $40.00 game for $10.00 is a great deal. They are the only two developers that really deserve to earn a profit. I don't pirate games though. Mainly because unlike VNs or Anime. Video games seem to be much higher on risk factor and I am worried I will get caught pirating a game.

If I become an author I would like to get paid for my works. I will do what Neil Gaiman did and do my best to convince the publisher I sign with to distribute copies of my book for free but I still want to earn money on my books that get sold.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For what it's worth, I've purchased only one game through Steam, and I've never even looked at Projekt Red / GOG. Meanwhile, just a few days ago, I paid full price for the cartridge versions of Persona 4 Golden and Virtue's Last Reward.

1. Have a common route free of charge, downloadable from a site, let people play whole common route, not only the trials they have in japan. It will make them hype so much for the actual route, they will already have saves for that version, what if those are not compatible with any torrented version.

That sounds like what Voltage Inc has done, and what Roseverte is trying to do. The former company has translated a few GxB visual novels for mobile devices, and released them on iTunes and Google Play. The main routes of Voltage Inc products are free, and the company sells the character routes individually. The latter company is following its lead with the visual novel East Tower (also iOS/Android). On Roseverte's site, it's clearly stated that this VN "...will be released per character path, and there is a mystery that connects them together."

You may benefit by talking with indie devs who are currently trying to sell their niche products to small groups of customers. If you want to persuade creators to sell their products in different ways, be willing to listen to their point of view as well. For instance, the head of Winter Wolves has talked on Twitter about the business of indie games. He's talked about why his group typically sells games from $20-25 US, why selling cheaper versions on iOS/Android is unprofitable, and why he's had trouble getting accepted by Steam.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

The japanese publisher's business model is so entrenched with the big players (who have everything to lose if things were to shift) that they can't innovate their business models even if they want to. (none dare upset Sofmap)

I think the Western ideas are starting to catch on in Japan, we saw Publisher IG put an anime on kickstarter.com and it succeeded its funding nicely.

They will get there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree: I think things are headed in a good direction.

One concept I'd love to see used in this market is Flattr (or any of the high-quality social micropayment suites). In my mind's eye I see the "choose where your monthly donation-pieces-of-pie go" as a fantastic solution to crowdsourcing VNs (again, go Fuwa FAQ).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×