This Is Why 5pb Are Focused On The Xbox 360 In Japan

By Ishaan . April 21, 2011 . 2:39pm

The Xbox 360 isn’t exactly booming in Japan, but it has certainly found its own comfortable niche amongst fans of visual novels and shoot-em-ups. Developers like Cave have supported the system with some of their best games so far, and have more on the way this year. 


A fair number of 5pb’s games are exclusive to the Xbox 360, too, such as the upcoming Phantom Breaker and Ever17 remake. We asked 5pb founder and executive director, Chiyomaru Shikura, what his thoughts are on the Xbox 360’s market in Japan.


“We’re not focusing on the hardware capabilities, but rather the users who use this console,” Shikura told us. “The Japanese Xbox 360 users love games dearly, and their ability to increase their community is also exceptionally high. Games that don’t get the community roused up are boring, and they don’t sell well anyways.”


So, in a nutshell, Shikura believes that word-of-mouth plays an important role in the Xbox 360 market in Japan. This makes sense, considering that a smaller, more niche community could also mean a closer community.

Read more stories about & on Siliconera.

  • nyobzoo

    wait, so they’re trying to sell games by word of mouth on the 360, when they could just sell more of the game on the PS3 and still have word of mouth? Makes no sense at all. But I’m sure that’s not the real reason why and he’s just making something up

    • andref

      Well maybe they are like Itagaki who pledge loyalty just because of some unknown reason they don’t want to say and I doubt its due to money

    • Well, they probably just dont want to say ” working with Sony in Japan is such a huge pain in the arse, its not worth bothering with – and it takes forever to get things approved and certified if they even let us publish a game in the first place. Whereas MS Japan is happy to get anything that people want to play, and makes things relatively easy”.

      They might want/have to work with Sony in the future, so they probably cant just speak their mind on the issue.

      • You’re forgetting about the PSP, the sister console of the 360. They already have plenty of experience working with them.
        It’s just that their first PS3 game is coming this summer [and a multi-plat….visual novel to boot], so things may change then, who knows.

        • Don’t forget to take into consideration it is much easier to publish a game for the PSP than it is the PS3. Developement costs for the PS3 are much higher, not to mention Sony is much more strict on what can and can’t be put on the PS3.

          • kroufonz

            i believe scej only require all vn on PS3 to be fully voiced, 1080p, and have trophies cmiiw

          • So disregarding the already inherently high costs of developement for the PS3 devlopers of visual novels, which are in the grand scheme of things typically low budget, are required to fork out more money to satisfy those requirements. Nevermind the fact that Sony has proven themselves to be more strict on content in the game.

            An example being Record of Agarest War’s censors on the PS3 version that did not exist on the 360 version.

      • SeventhEvening

        Or it could be because it is it is cheap to press DVDs vs. blu-ray. The 360 is also easier to program for. It is much easier to have low overhead on the 360. They’ve identified that they have a niche game that isn’t going to sell that well, so they need to minimize cost.

      • Subsenix

        Probably because they all dont have the money and knowledge to risk their fate on a PS3 Version.
        360 is like a PC and cheap…An ape can program for it and no one has to risk anything.
        Of course also like you said > M$ Japan thinks Japan is full of pervs so if they take those games on their manly console they catch the attention of everyone in Japan.
        Sony isn’t a pain like M$…*cough* Valve knows what im talking about *cough*

    • PrinceHeir

      agree, i mean if they want it by word of mouth, im pretty sure including a PS3 version would definitely help boost sales.

      “increase their community is also exceptionally high”

      im pretty sure the community of 360 in japan isn’t that high. oh well at least Akatsuki no Amaneka to Aoi Kyojin is getting a PS3 release(even though it’s not made by them) and Dunamis15 will probably 5pb’s first PS3 game.

      • Joanna

        I think you and others are misunderstanding what Shikura is saying. He isn’t saying that there can’t be such a group on PS3 or that these games can’t sell on PS3, but rather he is saying that there is a small niche group of gamers on the 360 that seem to frequent the same sites and as a result, if one of these gamers starts praising game x, the other gamers will quickly get on board. PS3 is more mainstream and doesn’t have such a close nit community and that’s the difference. So the point is, as long as you can impress these gamers on 360, you have a sure fire hit. Whereas with PS3, it’s a lot riskier since you can’t rely on this group that you know will pull through for your products.

        Although the analogy isn’t perfect, Siliconera is pretty similar in that a lot of us are really passionate about niche games and we tend to bounce games off each other. Nier was one such game, Ar Tonelico was another. Using myself as an example, it was because of all the praise on Siliconera that I picked up Nier and gave Disgaea another try (on my second try, I enjoyed it a lot more and I am now looking for the other games to add to my collection).

    • Skua

      The niche market on the 360 is well established, so it’s easier and less risky to create content.

      If they were to develop games for the PS3, they’d have to create that market from scratch. Aquaplus and Alchemist have tried (and failed), but it’s hard to convince people to buy a new system for just two or three games when everything else is on the 360 or PSP. For the PS3 to take off as a niche platform, you’d need multiple publishers to jump on board at once and aggressively push content.

      That’s why the 360 is an easy choice.

      • kroufonz

        none of alchemist and especially leaf/aquaplus) aquaplus have good result for first vn white album selling more than 26k (and white album isn’t even strong aquaplus franchise their stronger title is still upcoming for PS3 (toheart 2 dx, TtT 2, utawarerumono2)

        while alchemist umineko is doing quite good despite their foolishnes releasing game in december, it is still sell around 15k which isn’t that bad

        The PS3 gradually have support from console galge publisher (some of them also developer)like kadokawa, PIACCI, Maid Meets Cats, alchemist, aquaplus, prototype, even 5pb with upcoming dunamis15)

        VN release on PS3 just barely started, i am just hope more vn on ps3 which make importing stuff possible.

        imo why they chose 360 is just because it is easier to port from or to PC

        • N2O1990

          Alchemist think 15k(well 19k LTD)=flopped,so why ougon musou kyoku going to 360

          • Ereek

            Am I going to have to pull out the “small sales numbers doesn’t necessarily mean a flop; flops are defined by production and costs” argument again?

            Because I think I do it once a week, on average.

          • N2O1990

            make sense

  • sounds fair.
    though it’s still rather depressing that even the _exclusives_ are getting half of what their predecessors sold [Western or JP, doesn’t matter]… despite being better [?]. [[email protected], Dream Club, Fable 3, Halo : Reach, etc…]

    oh well. hopefully, they’ll succeed in their statement and thereby making memorable games. [/all while selling an additional 360 unit a week, heh]…

  • Istillduno

    If they care that much about games getting around via word of mouth, they better not be region locking them.

    • andref

      so I can’t import if I wanted to?

      • Guest

        Need a Japanese 360 dood

  • godmars

    Still believe it has more to do with getting “the community” to pay through the tuchus for something that would likely sell as much to a larger audience at a lower price.

  • Well, at least they are cool and re-release the games for psp later on :D

  • kroufonz

    looks like just some sweet PR talk.
    well they are certainly worry with 360 state in market, tough, i mean dunamis15 got ps3/360 release, and chaos head,stein gate get PSP release (like most of 360 vn)

    main visual novel market at current gen is on psp, only stein gate manage to reach 50k and chaos head manage to get more than 20k, while even [email protected] 2 sales are declining worst than [email protected] L4U which isn’t even main game (it isn’t vn but it is relevant) while other 5pb published pc port (not co developed like stein/chaos) are even worst, WLO can’t even get 5k sales.

    while PS3 visual novel market are still at the very early stage i believe it is have better future than 360, mainly with leaf/aquaplus support white album sales quite good (altough umineko sales not bad not , and to heart 2 dx, should start opening up the market, while tears to tiara2 utawarerumono should attract even more

    funny thing is for upcoming visual novel HD console version port and sequel mostly are on PS3, like upcoming Fortune arterial, magiski, suigetsu ni (suigetsu sequel),etc

    another thing is Kadokawa Games published a lot of Visual novel lately (both PC port and original stuff all on PS3 and PSP (like amagami, marriage royale, Da capo I & II, Fortune arterial etc) they are certaintly rising to conquer most of anime games market that hasn’t conquered by namco bandai)

    still psp the best machine for vn this gen (while ds only for love plus)

    i wish konami make new tokimemo for console again.

    • katamari

      I hope you’re only talking about consoles since the PC was and will be the best machine for VNs.

      • kroufonz

        yes i am only talkng about console galge not pc eroge

    • I think it’s even more interesting when you consider all the VNs that were on the PS2. I think even now there are still VNs being for the PS2, or at least they were one of the last ones.

  • eilegz

    its so obvious that microsoft give them some incentive or cash to do so…

    • andref

      Uh what…….. why would microsoft give a care for the visual novel marketplace.

      • Subsenix

        Because they think everyone in Japan is a pervert and only plays Lolihentainovel stuff
        They failed with expensive J-RPGs in Japan and at least still try it with that stuff.

        • I guess it’s a good thing that most VNs on 360 don’t pander do those audiences then, now isn’t?

    • I am just going to throw this out there.

      Do you realize how much money it would take to buy off a devloper like that? I mean, it would AT THE VERY LEAST have to be the sum the dev would be expecting to make on the “opposing” console.

      Given how the games seem to sell, by sticking to Xbox and PC(which are very easy to port to one another) they are actually saving alot more money than they estimate they would make by adding the PS3 to the developement pool.

      The upcoming VN by them IS multiplat. Most likely more of a “test the waters” deal. And given how poorly Umineko did, I can’t really see this going over too well. I’ll be glad to be proved wrong if it happens though.

      • N2O1990

        well in 2ch,some people said DUNAMIS15 originally was PS3 exclusive,but after publish by 5pb.,then it also coming to 360
        i don’t know it’s true or not,but we know DUNAMIS15 not develop by 5pb.(only SDR team assist them)

      • TrevHead

        I dunno about the VN scene but from what ive heard in the shmup scene is that right at near the beginning of the this console gen when MS was trying really hard to break into the Japanese market, they proactivly sought out many of the DC & PS2 shmup developers giving them support and cheap / free dev kits in a move to get all the devs on their system.

        I was a great move MS which helped reduce the overheads of devs working on shoestring budgets. And the total oppersite to Sony who where very snobbish about allowing such retro looking games on their new piece of kit and telling Arika who wanted to publish a shmup on the PS3 to go away and make something else.

        Imo its possible that the same happened to VN devs as it did STG devs

  • MrSirFeatherFang

    I’m alright with these developers making these games on the 360, but I kind of want them to be released out of Japan too lol

  • TrevHead

    Niche devs will benefit from been on the 360 as due to the lack of competition they can stand out in the crowd. Plus a high percentage of 360 owners in Japan will of bought it so they can play a certain game or genre. Thats why it works for shmups.

    So just because a console has a larger installed base doesnt guarantee it will sell more copies. For example the PS3 port of Grev’s shooter Mamoru-kun which didnt sell as many copies as the 360 original. Considering theres always ps3 gamers moaning all the shmups are on the 360 I expected the sales to be much higher.

    • Guest

      So why is Hyperdimension Neptune a PS3 exclusive? Atelier series? 428 on the PS3 and Wii and not the 360? Arcana Heart 3 on PS3? Wizardry series on PSN? White Album on PS3? Haruhi game on PS3/PSN?

      • TrevHead

        Are those games as niche as shmups which usually sell at retail around 10k? I know fighters and JRPGs arnt, Im not a fan of VNs but it seems they are simlar to shmups in that they are mostly on the 360 (and maybe handhelds) where costs are lower and is the system most of their customers own.

  • Guest

    I hate this guy now

    • Big surprise, coming from you.

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos