Marvelous Lost Money On Wii, Made Money With PSP

By Spencer . November 19, 2009 . 3:18am

image Marvelous Entertainment candidly stated during a financial presentation they lost money on three out of the four Wii titles published in the first half of 2009. This year, Marvelous released Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Arc Rise Fantasia, Little King’s Story, and Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga.

 

In Japan, Muramasa: The Demon Blade sold 47,000 units. Arc Rise Fantasia reached 45,000 units and poor Little King’s Story only reached 26,000 units. Little King’s Story did a little better in North America where 37,000 units were sold and performed best in Europe racking up 67,000 sales. Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga, which came out in September, only reached 16,000 units in North America.

 

Compare those figures to sales of their PSP games like Valhalla Knights 2: Battle Stance which sold 35,000 units and Hitman Reborn! Battle Arena 2’s 41,000 units. Half-Minute Hero topped all of Marvelous’ games with 70,000 units. Four out of the five PSP games made money, but not enough to keep Marvelous in the black.

 

One thing to consider is Marvelous’ PSP games weren’t as expensive to make. Valhalla Knights 2: Battle Stance being a revised version of Valhalla Knights 2 wouldn’t require much work. Marvelous already made a Hitman Reborn! engine and their other two PSP titles were visual novels. Comparatively, their Wii games like Muramasa: The Demon Blade and Little King’s Story were ambitious. Marvelous also believes their games, while critically acclaimed, didn’t sell well because they were new IPs and their brand isn’t well known.

 

Next year, Marvelous will release their first multi-platform PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 games, No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise in Japan and Deadly Premonition in North America.


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  • MadMirko

    ” Marvelous also believes their games, while critically acclaimed, didn’t sell well because they were new IPs and their brand isn’t well known.”

    That’s the sad truth for all (relative) newcomers. Fingers crossed they can stick around long enough to become well known among the more general gaming public.

  • malek86

    I’m guessing PSP development is cheaper than Wii, for these kind of games.

    By the way. Does Marvelous have publishing subsidiaries in USA and EU? Or do they give licenses to other publishers?

    • JeremyR

      They own Rising Star Games in Europe. And they have some sort of relationship with Xseed, but I’m not sure what. If you go to Xseed they have a link to Marvelous’s supposed US site, but there’s no website at that address, some Japanese hosting company

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      Xseed and Ignition are handling most of MMV’s games in the U.S., with Atlus picking up a couple along the way as well and Ubisoft taking No More Heroes. From what I know, they don’t have their own sizable subsidiary in the U.S., no. Xseed was the closest thing they had in this regard. Last I heard, it was maybe one guy representing MMV, with the rest of the “team” being comprised of Xseed staff.

      In Europe, Rising Star handles MMV products.

      • malek86

        I see. Weird that they would expand in Europe but not in the US.

    • http://www.nisamerica.com NickyD

      It really has less to do with development costs and more to do with how the royalties and fees are distributed. Perhaps a feature detailing this will surface in the near future…

  • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

    Interesting breakdown of their profits. Wii development has its upsides in terms of budget for sure, but it defeats the purpose if you can’t get the word out on your products, which is definitely an issue here. Even on DS, established (and more mainstream in Japan) games like Harvest Moon, Luminous Arc and Rune Factory have done reasonably well for them, but newer I.P. like Sakura Note has bombed.

    I think another PSP game that could potentially do really well for them next year is Fate/Extra. No one’s paying attention to it at the moment, but I do believe that it will do well in Japan. It’s an ingenious license to have picked up, and that along with the multiplatform approach seems to indicate that MMV are figuring out ways to pick themselves up off the ground.

    Still, as much as I love some of MMV’s Wii games, it might be better for them to stick to portables the way Level-5 have for the foreseeable future. At least they have a better chance of building up a fanbase on the DS and PSP in their home country.

    • malek86

      In case things don’t go too well, couldn’t they always try and search for a partnership with a bigger publisher? Like what happened with Sting and Atlus. Although I’m not sure of Sting’s situation before the deal. I heard they were “let go” by TYO for not exactly being profitable, together with all the other subsidiaries (5pb, Genterprise, etc.).

      • jarrodand

        No, TYO still owns Sting, 5pb, Genterprise and Suzak.

        • malek86

          You sure? I’ve read otherwise.http://group.tyo.jp/files/en/doc/363/pdf/sting_…“Due to the Sting MBO along with the MBO transactions for 5pb. Inc., SUZAK Inc., Genterprise Inc. and RIZE DRAGON Co., Ltd., which were announced in the “Notice Concerning Sale of Subsidiary” on April 15 and 16, 2009, the TYO Group has terminated all game software planning and production operations as was initially planned.”In this regard, the Sting-Atlus publishing deal would make more sense.

          • jarrodand

            Oh woah, I hadn’t seen that! It’s weird as all TYO’s IR materials still indicate they’re all still subsidiaries? Maybe the planned sale of assets never went forward?

          • malek86

            I don’t really know. Maybe these things need some time. Anyway, I wonder if the other companies were also lucky enough to find a deal with a new publisher. I couldn’t find any more info on them.

            I remember the news appeared on Sting’s main page, back then. It went pretty much unnoticed. I thought Siliconera would report on that, but maybe it wasn’t that important.

          • jarrodand

            @malek86

            Sorry, we’ve hit the response limit. 5pb and Genterprise seem to have their own distribution channels already in place, so leaving TYO probably wouldn’t be as big a deal as it was/would be for Sting. Generprise used to distribute Sting’s games when they selfpublished actually. Suzak’s just a contracted developer though, and they already have some big clients anyway (Nintendo, Bandai, etc).

          • malek86

            I see. Well, that doesn’t change the situation too much, then. Maybe Sting will eventually be bought by Atlus (if they do well, I guess), and that would be the end of it.

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            Haha, sorry; we hit the reply limit. I wouldn’t count on Atlus acquiring Sting. Their latest acquisition (Gonzo Rosso) and indicates that they very much want to do something bigger in scope like online games. :)

    • http://meikiyou.deviantart.com meikiyou

      and another thing like Level 5 do they should do is to develop games… not only publish… if they don’t have the money to publish why should they try it?
      they would gain more money if as L5 they did less games but more only really good ones with the proper marketings as I11 anime, Layton movie etc…

      • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

        Yup. MMV’s problem is that they don’t have a visionary like Level-5′s Akihiro Hino. I have a lot of respect for [MMV president] Yasuhiro Wada, but Marvelous simply haven’t been making the best decisions for their company until now. Most of L5′s games target a very broad audience, whereas you could say the opposite of MMV’s projects.

      • Artavasdus

        I replied to the wrong post XD

  • Randgriz

    Maybe thatll make them make more PSP games and more Wii>PSP ports.
    Also GET deadly premonition on PS3!

  • urbanscholar

    I think this is just another harsh example of sufficient marketing and advertising. Of course the problem in itself is having the funds for such to begin with. MMV games are definitely unique for a wide array of people the problem is word of mouth can’t do the same as short 30 second TV commerical. I sincerely hope they manage to stick around and offer us some more diverse titles.

  • Serge73

    Didn’t Marvelous put out any of DS games? (Like Avalon Code?) Anyone know how they did in comparison?

  • Tokyo Guy

    I dare say that the poor performance of Wii games is no doubt linked to the mainstream “gamer” that owns the system. Seriously, why would someone who buys a Wii for Wii Fit and Wii Sports have any interest in an awesome GAME like Muramasa. Such a shame…

    And Arc Rise Fantasia was, IMHO, a fantastic RPG that deserved FAR more success. If Marvelous has any intelligence whatsoever, it will port both of these gems to the PS3 where they can hopefully be received by an audience that actually cares about games.

    • http://meikiyou.deviantart.com meikiyou

      muramasa sold about the same as odin sphere in japan if it was what you were asking, even if wii had a smaller userbase at the time when odin launched on ps2 for comparison sake.Muramasa around (24k FW) 37k LTDOS: around (58k FW) 96k LTDand it happened in a console with around 9mi console sold and another with 20 mi… so this is what happens when a new game ip with a publisher that almost no one knows that it were called victor entertainment one day suffered a lot of fusions and has no great series that someone would stop it work to buy try to sell a game without advertising (in a console that the majority of it’s owners need marketing to know about what games are being released for his machine)…

      • Artavasdus

        Odin Sphere sold 96280 LTD copies in Japan, as stated in the Famitsu top-500 resume of 2007 (http://www.gemaga.com/2008/06/16/famitsu-top-50…), its sale figure is actually two times that of Oboro.That said, the only Wii jrpgs that performed well saleswise in Japan have been strong brands like Dragon Quest with DQS, Pokémon, Paper Mario and Tales (even if ToS DotNW’s performance is the second worst of the series in the recent years, with its 212k topped by every mothership and escort entry except for ToV X360′s 195k), with good numbers for Shiren and Chocobo Mystery Dungeon (both near 100k).The other jrpgs, especially in the last year, have been almost all disappointing: aside from Marvelous’ problems with ARF, LKS and Valhalla, FF CC EoT sold some 40k, Fragile stopped at less than 25k, Takt of Magic went down after 5k, Opoona at 3k, Ougon no Kizuna at 3k and Baroque at less than 1k. Even SD Gundam and Super Robot Taisen NEO sold badly, and the last hit came yesterday with Final Fantasy CB, with its 35k first week. Of course the next yearly resumes of Famitsu will surely show an increase on some of those numbers (some of them went off the charts after one week), but these aren’t promising numbers.

        I truly hope Tales of Graces is a success, after all the core Tales fans will surely support a mothership entry, and ToS DotNW probably moved many fans to buy a Wii.

        • http://denpanosekai.blogspot.com denpanosekai

          Gah! Don’t mention the Opoona sales. My poor heart. Such a wonderful game!

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          It seems like anything on consoles without decent marketing and a huge blowout in Famitsu will simply not do well. 3D Dot Game Heroes, like jarrodand said, is a good example of an awesome looking game failing simply because people don’t know what to make of it. Of course, as Crystal Bearers demonstrated, even Famitsu can’t save games that simply don’t “click” with the Japanese audience.

          • http://www.younganimal.com/berserk Mr_Qoo

            All of this really makes me think. When we (most of us?) were younger, gaming was a hobby and not a mainstream pop culture phenomenon. I think it was understandable when a great game didn’t sell thousands upon thousands in the West because it wasn’t popular (or as cultural as it was in Japan at the time) or at least not in the know outside of the big Mario-esque titles. Now that gaming is such a commodity among any diverse group of people, system sales are huge and competitive, ads are everywhere, magazines/reviewers/websites out the wazoo, and video games litter the store shelves, the same style of games we loved back then (read: innovative, fresh, fun, new) just aren’t attracting the mainstream group. I feel their larger budgets now make the game that much better, but we’re still some of the only ones buying the games and it really ends up hurting the companies after they drop the extra cash to make nothing more in sales. I wish there was a way to get more people into certain types of games.

            I’m just blowing off steam here and don’t have any real validity as this is probably an extreme example. Most successful games nowadays are just established series or games from established creators/composers etc. Most of the time, it’s a popularity contest. Give a game enough hype and then you’ll be the cool kid on the block that fits in and has the game too. At least that’s what a lot of the marketing feels like. Even in Japan, you’re paying for popularity (not just with games, I mean everything).

            Random? Yes. Useful? Sorry, but this is not! >,<

          • malek86

            It’s standard business fare. The good idea would probably be to just keep development costs very low, even if it means making a bad-looking game. Old time gamers probably won’t care about graphics anyway.

            I remember reading on a Lucasarts fansite, where the admin said that adventure games began to downfall once their development cost started going from about 100.000$ to well over a million. Basically, he suggested that the idea would be to keep the costs low – not go over 500.000 dollars, or possibly even 300.000 dollars, since it’s such a nichè market. Online distribution would also help, since it allowed the developers to not pay retailer or publishers, and take all the money for themselves.

          • Tokyo Guy

            I have to disagree somewhat, Ishaan. Both Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles (Crystal Bearers) AND Bayonetta were so heavily promoted that their respective publishers actually put up billboard-sized posters in many Tokyo train stations. And mind you these are places like Shinjuku and Shibuya where hundreds of thousands of people transit through: it wasn’t just Akihabara with a much more niche consumer appeal. So I don’t know if it’s entirely based on marketing problems as far as games go (yet I sure as heck would say Sony’s idiotic LACK of marketing for the PSPGo is responsible for that flop). As I suggested in an earlier post, the problem may in-part be the financial situation. I’ve seen the drastic change in Tokyo-life in the past year, since the financial meltdown last September. People aren’t spending much money, major stores that once thrived are often devoid of customers, many talented people are being laid off, etc. And mind you this is on TOP of the fact that Japan was already in a recession since the housing bubble here popped in the previous decade.I really don’t know how seriously people take Famitsu. Obviously hardcore/otaku gamers may worship it, but from what I’ve seen, their comments or reviews are just used as marketing propaganda. I mean the magazine gives a perfect score to a game like Nintendogs and yet takes off points for other games “perfect” in the eyes of some and then disenchantment occurs.

            Many Japanese publishers, most visibly Square and Capcom, have been commenting that the Japanese gaming market is in decline and that more efforts have to be made to work with/cater to foreign gamers. It seems that many old-school-type games are now appearing on PCs as freeware.

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            I think you misunderstood what I said…I agree, CB was given great marketing treatment. Giant billboards, several blowouts in Famitsu, even TV commercials. I just feel the game wouldn’t have done well regardless. For one thing, it’s an action-adventure game that looks very similar to Zelda (which hasn’t been very popular in Japan in recent years). For another, it’s a single-player game in a franchise that’s known for its awesome multiplayer experiences. Also, I don’t think it’s quite fair to count that terrible Wii port of Echoes of Time. People are informed enough to be able to tell it wasn’t worth the money.

            Regarding your point about Famitsu — I’ve always wondered that myself. How many people actually take what it says seriously? Obviously, you’re in a better position to comment on this than most of us. How is “advertorial” viewed in Japan by the consumer?

          • Aoshi00

            I guess that’s why the Jpn developers are looking toward Western market since game sales still stay relatively high despite the US economy being in the gutter as well. Hearing all this is kind of disheartening, no wonder you have Tomino the Gundam creator rambling about games being evil and unproductive. Now we all just pray that the US slump wouldn’t go for a decade or two like Jpn.

            All this really makes me wonder how FFCC CB would fare in the US.. I’m just not sure what its target audience is.. and Kawazu said he wanted to make a game that everyone can enjoy, but casual Jpn (wii) gamers don’t like sand box action games like this, they like a linear narrative for the most part..

          • Tokyo Guy

            Ah, Ishaan this reply is for you but it would seem your message hit the limit as there is no reply option under it. Thus I will post here.

            Ah, you mentioned that (about CB not selling well) in the other page, I remember. It is a good point, as are the others you follow up with; for the life of me I can’t understand why Zelda has fared so poorly here. Overseas it’s this huge gauntlet but in Japan it’s almost as if no-one even cares anymore. I mean, just days ago there was the posting about the Nintendo shareholders conference (or something like that) and someone asked about the next Zelda and Miyamoto (or Iwata?) commented that the next Zelda is releasing next month and THAT is what people should be focusing on.

            Truth be told, I first learned of Spirit Tracks NOT from any Japanese gaming magazine or store, but via a promo movie after E3 being shown in an import game store in Akihabara. My friend and I both thought it was some kind of Youtube-esque joke, as it looked the same as Phantom Hourglass. But even now, about one month away from the release, no one cares, there is no hype, etc. However you DO see hype and in-store marketing for Final Fantasy 13 absolutely everywhere, even the convenience stores.

            I truly think that Nintendo is no longer a “gamer’s” console here in Japan, but instead a place for “everybodies” to entertain themselves. When you look at any of the marketing Nintendo does in Japan, it is most certainly NOT aimed at gamers, less they wouldn’t be having “talented” “comedians” promoting the games. (I use both words in quotes so as to denote my absolute disinterest with the “programming” people here find so “great”). But there you have it- I don’t “get” the appeal of these people nor do I care about them in the slightest. But to the mainstream consumer who does NOT have a serious interest in games, that type of marketing works.

            The only “gamer” thing Nintendo has done recently is the current New Super Mario Bros. gimmick at the Shibuya Scramble Crossing. At set times (i.e. when the multitude of TVs are at a point in their broadcasting loop) the ENTIRE crossing is inundated with the classic Mario Bros theme, and an assortment of Mario icons (not the characters themselves, but the “?” blocks, a goomba, etc) flashing on the jumbo TV screens. There are no gameplay screens whatsoever, nor is there Mario’s face or anything. That is definitely something for true gamers, though I suppose Mario Bros. is something that everyone knows.

            ANYWAY, back on topic, I think Famitsu is seen as a bible among otaku (and fanboys), however as my circle doesn’t involve either, it seems to be nothing more than a news source for those whose live extends outside of games, and as a marketing tool for both ads and scores. I think the internet has usurped much of Famitsu’s clout, in that anyone and everyone can have an opinion now.

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            This is in reply to your latest comment. First off, great post. Very informative, too, so thanks for the insight. :)

            Yea, I never got why Zelda stopped being popular in Japan either, and unfortunately, I was too young during the N64 days to care about any of this stuff. We know for a fact that Wind Waker was an angle they tried approaching the Japanese market from, and that it eventually paid off with Phantom Hourglass. I think Spirit Tracks will do OK.

            You seem to be right about Nintendo shedding their “gamer” image in Japan. Two core franchises (Metroid and Zelda) that people go crazy for everywhere else are of no interest to the Japanese, and as you pointed out, Nintendo’s marketing has been largely targeted at the casual audience. In recent times, it seems like they’ve been trying to reposition the Wii as a core gaming platform with all the bundles and pushing the Classic Controller with every major release, but I think all this has happened a little too late. I admire Iwata a lot, but even I had to admit while reading the investor briefing that he wasn’t being very convincing. Part of it is that Nintendo are so secretive about everything.

            I honestly couldn’t guess what they have in the works for Japan that could be big next year with the enthusiast audience. Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid and Zelda are all going to be huge in the West, but not in Japan. I’m just amazed we haven’t seen them attempt to develop a Pokémon MMO or put Monolith to good use and establish their own RPG franchise, since that’s clearly what the audience wants.

        • jarrodand

          Crystal Bearers sales are heartbreaking, but the game’s not a JRPG. It’s literally a sandbox action game, gameplay wise it has more in common with Crackdown than FFXIII. :/

          Muramasa’s sales aren’t great, and they’re certainly a step down from Odin Sphere, but it’s also Vanillaware’s 2nd best selling game ever in Japan. That lends a little more perspective.

          Also, while SRT Neo did mediocre, it’s more a spinoff itself and sold in line with the last really comparable game (SRT GC/XO).

          Generally I agree though, it does seem like Wii’s lacking any real middleground for lower tier and niche RPGs. Had companies like Square Enix, Sega, Level-5, Atlus, NIS, Gust, FROM, Hudson and others also been alongside Marvelous in trying to nurture this audience (as they did on PS2), then things could’ve gone differently.

          • Artavasdus

            That FFCB isn’t in any way a traditional jrpg is true of course , but we all know how vague the definition of “jrpg” is in the videogame industry nowadays (there was an interesting article on rpgfan on this matter, if I remember correctly), sporting tactical games (ranging from Fire Emblem to Disgaea), grand strategy (see Generation of Chaos), real time tactics (Growlanser), rts (FF12 RW, Ys Strategy etc), classic turn based (FF, DQ etc), action based (Tales, Star Ocean), hack&slash (Shining Force NeoEXA), action adventure (Ys among others) and many other subgenres (not to mention the hybridations with visual novels elements like the dating sim). What I point out is that the jrpg audience is fairly used to see as legitimate “jrpgs” (of course divided in subgenres) games that sometimes are fairly distant from the genre’s traditional standard set in the early ’90s.Even if FF CB was a self proclaimed “not-jrpg” it is still a Final Fantasy game (with a number or references, not only to the CC subseries), and the fact that the two FF games released on Wii (CB and EoT) are some of the worst selling since the beginning of the franchise should make us think. The whole FF CC subseries was a departure from FF’s traditional turn based approach, after all, and that didn’t prevent it to sell fairly well on Gc and Ds.Regarding Vanillaware one must think that Odin Sphere was a major breakthrough from them saleswise: the fact that Oboro is “second” without distancing itself too much from Grim Grimoire and Princess Crown’s PSP porting isn’t a great achievement (more of a regression, sadly).I fully agree with the other things you said.

          • jarrodand

            I still just don’t think Crystal Bearers is a good indicator of RPG potential on the platform, the game pretty much goes out of it’s way to actively shun genre fans, with Kawazu even emphasizing the “not an RPG” point in Famitsu. I’d also say there’s general problems with brand fatigue for FF spinoffs given how terribly FF Gaiden just sold on DS, as well as Dissidia Universal Tuning on PSP. Launching so close to FFXIII (ie: the real deal) likely didn’t help any of these games either.

            As for Vanillaware, Marvelous only expected 56k sales total from Muramasa and got 47k, so a direct comparison to Odin Sphere still seems a bit off. I actually think the most likely to be the “profitable” title in the list going by expectations and Vanillaware’s past sales.

            Comparing 1st day sales for all Vanillaware’s games this and last gen…

            2005.09 [PSP] Princess Crown – 5k
            2007.04 [PS2] Grim Grimoire – 10k
            2007.05 [PS2] Odin Sphere – 36k
            2008.09 [NDS] Kumatanchi – 2k
            2009.04 [WII] Oboro Muramasa – 16k

            http://ameblo.jp/sinobi/entry-10239391514.html

          • Joanna

            @jarrod: actually FF Gaiden sold remarkably well as another siliconera post stated. More so then SE expected and as a result the game was out of stock with more copies promised.

        • http://meikiyou.deviantart.com meikiyou

          you forgot FE which outsold the GC entry and CB was not a hit since it is not a rpg.
          I stated the right numbers for OS unless i dun know for what u re stating it again.
          ARF:45K
          muramasa: 47k as stated by MMV
          LKS: 26k japan 130 k WW
          the numbers for some of the games you stated the slaes

          • Artavasdus

            @jarrodand: Of course I am not saying that CB alone is a sign that jrpg aren’t selling well on Wii: CB, whether we consider it part of the macrogenre or not (I too pointed out its presentation as not-jrpg in my previous post), is part of a trend of low selling games (all < 50k, six of them < 10k) which includes all the Marvelous games, Fragile, Opoona, Ougon no Kizuna, Baroque, SD Gundam, Takt, SRT, Dokapon and FF CC EoT (which, even if it is a standard CC entry gameplay-wise, albeit low budget, performed even worse than CB). In this list some games were too niche to sell, other didn't perform well even on other platforms and so on, but it's difficult to avoid noticing that there is something amiss regarding the lack of that "middle ground" you mentioned. Of course there are examples of good sales like Fire Emblem (which sold 20k more than the Gc entry), Pokémon and Paper Mario, but among those first party the last two have a fanbase that is somewhat different from the normal jrpg audience, and Dragon Quest Swords, while selling extremely well (almost 500k), was the second worse DQ game saleswise in the last years, topped by every spin off and remake (not to mention DQ9, that is obvious) aside from DQ Rocket Slime for Ds (it is difficult to say if this has anything to do with Wii or if it is part of the handheld jrpg shift of that period). Even ToS DotNW is not such a great hit if you consider that it was outperformed by every other home console Tales in the whole series aside from X360 ToV. Shiren and Chocobo performed very well as far as I can judge, establishing that “middle ground” (slightly less than 100k) other games missed. @meikiyou: I am sorry, I read your first statement “muramasa sold about the same as odin sphere in japan if it was what you were asking, even if wii had a smaller userbase at the time when odin launched on ps2 for comparison sake.” and instantly went to search the numbers, failing to see that you posted them. Regarding the Marvelous games I didn’t post any number since they were provided in the article. It’s interesting to have them since the last numbers we had (as reported on japan game charts) are not up to date with the Marvelous press release.

          • http://meikiyou.deviantart.com meikiyou

            about ToS:RnK it’s nice to state that it sold less than the ToS on GC and PS2

          • jarrodand

            For what it was (a low budget spinoff) I think DOTNW did rather well for itself. Graces will be the real test for Tales on Wii, as it’s a genuinely full bodied effort (on level with Vesperia). If it can’t crack 300k though, I think we’re in trouble.

            Same for DQ Swords honestly, it’s not at all the 2nd worst selling spinoff even in recent years (it beat Slime Morimori 2, Shonen Yangus, Itadaki Street Portable and Itadaki Street DS) it actually the 2nd best selling spinoff (beaten only by DQM Joker). In fact, it’s the best selling DQ spinoff on consoles ever, outselling every PS1 and PS2 DQ spinoff (Torenko 2, Torneko 3, Shonen Yangus, Itadaki Street Special, DQM1+2).

            I’d also take some issue with the other titles you mentioned but they’re mostly PS2 ports, which tends to be a losing battle on Wii regardless of genre (see also: Powapuro, Winning Eleven, Sengoku Basara, etc). If you want your Wii release to bomb, one of the surest ways seems to be releasing it alongside or after a nearly identical PS2 version.

        • Tokyo Guy

          Perhaps everyone also needs to consider that this is a very bad economy, especially in Japan where export sales are down significantly. So it’s not really surprising that people aren’t rushing out every week to buy games (well, except for me, lol).

          • Aoshi00

            So w/ you being in Jpn, don’t you get the best deal from Amazon, what w/ big pre-order discount, quick price drop, and free shipping. That seems to be the cheapest option. Oh, their frustration-free packaging cracks me up.. I thought they were always easy to open..

          • Tokyo Guy

            Actually I never use Amazon for new releases. It’s mainly because of problems I’ve had with their deliveries. Amazon Japan always requires a signature on packages (or maybe just when they are over 5000yen or who knows) and orders from them never arrive until after 4PM. So basically I’m not home and thus get ticked off because I could have just gone out in the morning and purchased the game and have already played it rather than having to wait until 8PM or many times, the next day.

            I also don’t like how Amazon Japan USE to have next day shipping for any order sent to Tokyo, but now it takes 2 days because they want you to use their Amazon Prime option. Basically they will process the order today, ship it tomorrow, and then it will arrive the next day.

            Finally I don’t like how Amazon often doesn’t have an actual item listed until after the sale. For example I tried to order Lunar for the PSP last week, but it wasn’t sold by Amazon, but by a 3rd party. NOW they are selling it but I already bought the game.

            Also, while Amazon is most always cheaper, all the major stores in Japan have a point card system where you accumulate store credit with each purchase. And most stores do not actually sell for the MSRP.

            BUT, when it comes to getting a newer game a month or so after release, then Amazon Japan is tops because they will always have discounted the price whereas the retail stores will have the original.

    • jarrodand

      If a repurposed engine, low budget Tales spinoff can sell 200k+ on Wii in Japan, I’m not sure why ARF couldn’t? The truth is I think, Marvelous just doesn’t do enough to promote their games in Japan. Combine that with overly-cautious retailers and you have a perfect recipe for BOMBA. This happens on PS3 too, see the recent 3D Dot Game Heroes (which undersold all of Marvelous’ Wii games)NMH will be a good test for Wii to HD ports though. Personally, I suspect Wii to PSP would be the better solution though, or better yet Wii+PSP multiplatform.

      • Tokyo Guy

        I don’t know if that is true: I’ve seen a fair bit of promotional materials for Marvelous products here. Muramasa was, for example, prominently featured on displays at some major game retail stores (heck, that was how I discovered it). Arc Rise Fantasia was heavily advertised in Famitsu, as were some of their other games.

        Someone mentioned that no one knows Marvelous is Victor Entertainment: heck I didn’t even know until a few weeks ago when Ishaan (IIRC) clued me in.

        I’ve heard it said that a lot of the former home console gaming lot here in Japan has moved onto PCs actually…

        And if 3D Dot Heroes sold that poorly, that is just plain sad. The game is FANTASTIC.

        • jarrodand

          Well, I’m going 2nd hand here, but that’s just the impression I tended to get from people in Japan. The only real Marvelous events or promotions that seemed to make the blogs were the NMH launch party that no one showed up to and that Burger King promotion for LKS. I still sort of feel if Muramasa or (especially) Arc Rise had different publishers (like Sega or someone) they probably would’ve done better. 3D Dot Game Heroes promotions seemed to get a lot of attention from blogs and journalists here though, how did you find the in-store advertising and such?

          Also, Marvelous actually existed as a separate company before, they merged with Victor’s game unit back in 2003 iirc.

  • http://denpanosekai.blogspot.com denpanosekai

    I do hope you can look at the latest Nihon Falcom numbers I sent you.

    • http://www.siliconera.com Spencer

      Thank you for sending those :). Someone is giving them a look and preparing them.

  • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

    isnt rune factory from marvelous too?… i think im confused

  • neo_firenze

    Two items:

    (1) What was the one Wii game that made money?

    (2) “In Japan… poor Little King’s Story only reached 26,000 units. Little King’s Story did a little better in North America where 26,000 units were sold and performed best in Europe racking up 67,000 sales.”

    Huh?? How is selling the same amount of units doing “a little better” in NA? Was that just a typo?

    And for what it’s worth, from most international publishers’ perspective, selling the same number of units in the much larger NA market is doing WORSE. As of the end of 2008, there were approximately half as many Wii consoles sold in Japan (roughly 7.5 mil) than in NA (over 14 mil in US + Canada). I know RPG-ish games are traditionally accepted better in the mainstream Japanese market, but that’s a big difference in market size.

    • jarrodand

      Yeah, LKS did 37k in America. Muramasa’s probably the “profitable” Wii title.

      • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

        Actually, I suspect that might be LKS, seeing as how Muramasa isn’t even out in Europe yet.

        • jarrodand

          I dunno, looking back at expectations, Muramasa almost hit them (47k sold, 56k expected) while LKS didn’t even hit half (130k sold, 320k expected). I’d expect the margins and budgets were based on that.

  • http://pto.yetikitn.com MelodyKitn

    I am soo sorry Marvelous… I would have liked to give you profit, and one day, I will… but ever since I moved overseas to the EU its been hell deciding whether or not I have the funds to spend on imports and the dreaded VAT. So much that I’m wondering whether it’s worth it or not to just break down and get an EU Wii already (same with the 360).

  • http://twitter.com/ECMIM ECM

    I hope MMV doesn’t compound these mistakes with ports to other platforms unless said ports are incredibly cheap to produce. (Don’t get me wrong: I loved almost all of these games–especiallly Muramasa–but those games just won’t make money, no matter what platform they are on due to the sheer lack of awareness (i.e. no marketing) and the market itself has shifted very hard away from these types of niche games that neither the ‘core’ gamer (as that appelation is understood today, i.e. those that pay Halo, Gears of War, Resident Evil, etc.) nor the casual has any interest in.

    It’s reallly too bad because these are the kinds of games people like me lived for during the 16-bit era.

  • pedrron

    The least MMV could do is set up an English website with forums for their loyal customers similar to Atlus and run promotions/contests to get their name out there a little bit more.

  • Aoshi00

    Too bad Marvelous isn’t breaking even w/ their unique and great IPs.. Arc Rise Fantasia is a great RPG and definitely deserves better. I’m not interested in strategy games like Little King’s Story despite its great art style. I tried the demos for the Reborn fighting games and they were fun too.I guess I kind of did my small part by buying and potentially dipping on several of those titles (I will get Fragile again and Muramasa/NMH ports if they exist and do come over here). I picked up Half minute Hero yesterday too, it was on sale on Amazon for ~$18, truly a steal for a physical copy (I much prefer the US anime to Jpn sprite cover)!

  • Tokyo Guy

    Ishaan, this is in response to your previous post/reply.>Hourglass. I think Spirit Tracks will do OK.Hopefully it will, but it is curious as to the total absence of marketing. Even the feather-stylus pen element hasn’t really been pushed. The only thing Nintendo is pushing currently is New Super Mario Bros. And, to an extent, the new DSi LL which goes on-sale tomorrow (and which IMHO looks HIDEOUS. Holy crap it might as well be an electronic dictionary it is so large. It’s not even portable anymore really, and for that amount of space used there is no excuse why the thing can’t do more. I mean you can get mini PCs running Windows XP for that size).>Two core franchises (Metroid and Zelda) that people go crazy for everywhere Isn’t it funny how all the most creative games from Japan aren’t even popular there? The GBA Metroid games, Metal Gear Solid, Zelda, etc. Maybe I’m wrong, but the Japanese gaming market seems to have boiled down to the “everybody” gamer and the total otaku, the latter only seeming to care about Gundam/Robot Wars games, or anime related products. (Seriously, HOW many Evangelion games have released in the past year or so?)>seems like they’ve been trying to reposition the Wii as a core gaming platform >with all the bundles and pushing the Classic Controller with every major Ah but none of these bundles ever reach Japan. The Wii continues to-and has always-been sold without ANY game software, as you probably know. I’ve always found this curious, as from the very start Nintendo of America had bundles (the NES with Duck Hunt/SMB) but Japan has always had to pay for everything. In fact, MANY things are cheaper in USA than they are here, including VAIO PCs, televisions, MP3 players, etc. I think Japanese companies literally exploit Japanese customers just so they can sell the products for less overseas. >Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid and Zelda are all going to be huge in the West, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Mario Galaxy 2 sells worse here than the original. >not in Japan. I’m just amazed we haven’t seen them attempt to develop a >Pokémon MMONot to offend Nintendo, but I don’t think the company would have the first clue how to make an MMORPG. Heck, it wouldn’t even admit that online play/DLC was the way to go for a very long time. I get the impression that Nintendo is deeply disappointed that the “Japanese” way has been lost and that gaming is catering more and more to the interests of the west, be it trends like DLC, or gaming genres and the games themselves. Just the fact that the company remains based in Kyoto says a lot about its business. (And on a side note, when the West IS clamoring for traditional Japanese Nintendo products such as Mother 3, the company totally ignores the demand, as if to say “You aren’t good enough for it”. There is absolutely no reason a Mother 1-3 compilation for the DS has not graced foreign markets other than Nintendo’s arrogant “insistence” that Mother 3 be for Japan).Oh BTW, while on the subject of poor sales, Made in Ore was a total flop here IIRC, despite Nintendo heavily marketing it to the “everybody” gamer with said “talented” “comedians”.>or put Monolith to good use and establish their own RPG franchise, since that’s Yes, what the heck is Nintendo doing with that company anyway? What a total waste of possibly the best talent it has. Monolith has become the Rare that Microsoft purchased: a great deal that everyone hoped would result in a string of major hits only to be all but taken off the map.

    • jarrodand

      I think Isshan was talking about the CCPro bundles (Monster Hunter 3, Sengoku Musou 3, Winning Eleven Playmaker 2010) though Monster Hunter 3 got a Wii hardware bundle and Tales of Graces is also getting one. Nintendo does seem to be making a play for the gamer market recently, but they’re doing it almost exclusively through exclusive 3rd party software support and bundles. They do seem to be a bit notorious about letting their own gamer oriented games slip through the cracks unfortunately, especially the stuff that’s not developed inhouse (Disaster, Takt of Magic, Sin & Punishment 2, etc). I think Zangenki no Reginliev looks amazing, but I expect it’s going to share a similar sub 20k sales fate. :/Also, this reply limit is totally annoying. Siliconera should consider hosting a forum or something.

      • http://meikiyou.deviantart.com meikiyou

        comparing to GC sales these 20k numbers can be considered average, as a good number of Gc entries has sold like 40k lifewise

        are you jarrod from neogaf?

        • jarrodand

          Oh sure, there were plenty of interesting 1st party GC games that also did terribly (Odama, Kururin Squash, etc) and even on N64 too (Sin & Punishment, 1080). I guess this isn’t really anything new for Nintendo.

          And yeah, I’m jarrod from gaf.

          • http://meikiyou.deviantart.com meikiyou

            if you count first week there is much more games that were good and sold average which started with 20k-40k sales and then ended with numbers like 70k

  • http://mmv-wii.proboards.com/index.cgi Hero of Legend

    I’m sure their Wii games will profit in the long run, I mean look:

    LKS did 130,000 worldwide in 6 months.

    Muramasa did 35,000 in NA as of two weeks after launch (Ignition even said it could be 20% higgher since NPD undertracks by that much, it it could be over 43,000), and Ignition were very happy with that. Thus the game is at least at 90.000 now. It’s just coming out in EU as well.

    Arc Rise Fantasia’s only out in Japan and it’s selling at a faster rate than Muramasa, and since iIgnition is publishing it in NA, they can use what marketing power they gave Muramasa for hopefully as good or even better sales.

    Eldar Saga all around obviously had a shitty budget, so it’ll need to sell far less to profit. It did around 4,600 in the first week, not good, but that makes it over 20,000, so hopefully it still has legs.

    It may sound like I’m spinning things, but it makes sense.

    • http://mmv-wii.proboards.com/index.cgi Hero of Legend

      Eldar Saga did 4,600 first week in Japan I mean.

    • Joanna

      but does Marvelous get a percentage of the sales, or just a licensing fee out front. If the latter, then these sales in the NA and EU aren’t going to help Marvelous. :/

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