Steins;Gate Sales Make 5pb President Say… (★ ° ∀ °) ノ

By Ishaan . June 28, 2011 . 10:15pm

Steins;Gate is popular in Japan. Very popular. How popular? 300,000 copies of the game shipped across PC, Xbox 360 and PSP to date, according to 5pb president, Chiyomaru Shikura.


Pointing out that this is an admirable number for a visual novel, Shikura happily celebrated the milestone with a (★ ° ∀ °) ノ face on Twitter. Congratulations, Shikura-san. With a game, an anime series, and love comedy spin-off, Steins;Gate is a proper media franchise.


So, why is it so popular? Shikura believes it’s because Steins;Gate is rooted in reality. “If you can create a story, complete with terror and joy, within the confines of reality, you can make it feel more relatable,” Shikura told us during an interview we conducted with 5pb earlier this year.


That approach seems to have worked for 5pb so far, with Chaos;Head and Steins;Gate, which have both been successful. Next in line in is Dunamis 15, another game that incorporates the concept of time into its story. Meanwhile, Shikura is enjoying hearty congratulations from peers such as Huke of Black Rock Shooter fame and Overdrive president, Hiroshi Takeuchi.

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  • puchinri

    I agree with Shikura. Balance and some some piece of reality make a story way more relatable, no matter how rooted in fantasy/sci-fi/etc/whatever it is.

    And congrats to them~. I haven’t watched or played Steins;Gate yet, but I saw it often before the anime and was interested, so I’m looking forward to enjoying the different media at some point in time.

  • RagnaXBL

    i think its popular because of the artstyle
    just looking at the pics makes you want to buy it

    • Aoshi00

      The huke art is good and unique, but actually it was one of the reasons I held off buying Steins;Gate before because I didn’t the art at first, then I grew to like it.  Now that I’ve watched the anime for a while, the different anime art style is quite good too.. 

    • Darkrise

      Same goes to Hukes’ BRS, his artstyle is just godly.

  • ヾ(*´∀`*)ノ゛

  • blah blah

    I hope this means 5pb will get an NA branch soon and expand.

    • RagnaXBL

      your optimism just made my day :D

    • Ladius

      That would be fantastic, unfortunately until now they haven’t shown any real interest in overseas expansion, probably because their offer is grounded in some genres that are niche even in the Japanese market.

      • Well, Shikura did say that they were thinking of the overseas market, but of course, that’s no indication of when we’ll hear anything from them on overseas releases…

        • Ladius

          I really hope they can find a good partner to work with, they deserve it.

          That said, afaik 5pb hasn’t actively tried to find western publishers so far, while even small companies such as Idea Factory (probably the biggest example of this trend) have been far more proactive, going to international conventions with the objective of selling their licences in order to promote their properties in other markets.

          Of course I can understand how the western vn market isn’t exactly a gold mine for Japanese publishers, but maybe having a console release out of the eroge PC ghetto could help sales and consumer awareness, same as what happened on handhelds with PW and 999.

  • …from my experience on Visual Novels in general, some of the best loved titles have always been about the quality of the story-telling in itself, more so than the story/plot. even simple, cliched/generic stories can be an unforgettable experience if the narrative is well done.

    • Ladius

      I couldn’t agree more, and that is true even for other genres or media :)

  • Yey, now how about localizing it, Shikura-san? (★ T 3 T) ノ

    • kroufonz

      isn’t jast usa have some kind of agreement with them?

      • Ladius

        JAST has a deal on a title-by-title basis with Nitroplus, but we have yet to see an announcement regarding a 5pb-Nitroplus game.

        • Darkrise

           But it’s probably going to take forever for the to finish it…

  • トゥットゥルー♪ (★ ° ∀ °) ノ

  • kroufonz

    that was nice number even for multiplat,and  I bet more than half of that “shipped” number is PC version:p

    if this continue to maintain popularity (thanks to anime the popularity will not go down in the near future) and after pc,x360, and psp version , maybe they’ll think to release it on PS3 too (successful VN usually will be milked as long as possible)

  • NotABananana

    Wait, wait, what is this I hear about a love comedy spin-off?

    • It was released last week:

  • malek86

    So, if they want to try publishing some visual novels overseas, this looks like the best place to start. Successful, famous even among anime circles due to the TV series, and not just a dating sim or cryfest.

    • You’re right. Steins;Gate would be a good place to start. This title would certainly do the trick!

  • PrinceHeir

    awesome uii have Chaos;Head translated on my PC right now.

    don’t have the time to play it because of summer school :(

    congrats Steins;Gate :P

    can’t wait for Dunamis15 ^^

  • Knight Hart



    Well, there is a fan translation project going on, but i mean come on, it’s not even certain if that project will last through the whole thing. JAST? Don’t make me laugh. What have JAST USA done so far? NOTHING, they get the lisence just so they can do NOTHING with it. Okay, so they did Demonbane, big woof, they took their sweet friggin time with it.

    • Ladius

      Yeah, the fact that they released Demonbane and just announced official localizations of Sumaga, Django, Saya no Uta, Kikokugai and Hanachirasu (with Jingai Makyou and Dra-Koi presumably in the pipelines) shows they are doing NOTHING with the Nitroplus licence.

      Give me more NOTHING, please.

      • SolidusSnake

        I wonder when Saya no Uta will come out. It’s one of the VNs that I’ve heard of with a really interesting concept behind it.

        I ordered Demonbane not long ago… honestly my expectations are not high but hopefully it will be worth my time. I don’t like silly, lighthearted takes on Lovecraft but Gundam vs Cthulhu is too damn hilarious of an idea to pass on.

        • M’iau M’iaut

          I’ve enjoyed my time with it. It is rough around the edges but more than worth your time — the Lovecraft stuff really does not feel forced to any extent.

          • SolidusSnake

            Cool, I’m kinda pumped up. This is the first VN I’ve rolled the dice on so we’ll see how it goes.

        • Ladius

          SnU is really extreme, I warn you, but if you can tolerate it you will be able to enjoy one of the most interesting and well-paced vns out there.

          Also, you should try looking for Kara no Shoujo, it looks really great and the free demo was extremely interesting.

  • JustaGenericUser

    JAST USA – Won’t see it translated until 2020.

    Mangagamer – Will remove the voices and who knows what else.

    Damn, we’re screwed, aren’t we?

    • Yeah, pretty much.

    • Ladius

      We would be screwed if no one localize it, and I wouldn’t gang up on JAST or Mangagamer seeing what kind of numbers they have to work with. Moreover, JAST announced five Nitroplus games yesterday and MG has removed voiceovers in two games amongst all those they’ve localized so far.

      That said, there’s a fantranslation project for Steins Gate, even if it has started only recently.

    • Removing the voices is a huge money problem though. Mangagamer isn’t a big enough company to be able to pay fees for each and every voice actor on these massive projects. That’s a TON of dialogue and a TON of cash. It’s a massive risk considering the turn around more than likely won’t cover the production costs.

      When they’re big they can take those risks. Right now, we’re lucky to even have them trying. 

  • Very small market here and the language is so different that even a good student would still have trouble understanding the moon runes. Why does Japan taunt us so?

  • Aoshi00

    Steins;Gate’s story and time traveling concepts were really good, I definitely feel more sucked in by games grounded in reality, because it puts restriction on story telling instead of anything goes (and it didn’t need sex or graphic violence). I could see the anime blu-rays selling a lot too.  Heavy Rain was very cool too in that sense.  So I’m really looking for the 3rd science adventure Robotics;Notes.  I don’t like the art of Dunamis 15 that much, will see if that’s good..

    lol, I loved that emoticon, so was the (*゚д゚) hippocampus (kaiba) pic drawn by Kurisu, almost wanted to buy her gamer pics…

    Bullet Soul was a pretty good shmup too, can’t say the same for Phantom Breaker..  will continue to support 5pb’s amazing VNs. Hopefully I could finish Chaos;Head soon…

    And all the theme songs (360, PC, PSP, anime) are so good, I think Shikura wrote the lyrics for most of them if not all, pretty cool dude.

    • Ladius

      Bullet Soul was really nice to play with a friend who isn’t a shmup enthusiast, it’s somewhat easier than Cave titles and personally I like its design ^^

      Phantom Breaker is a nice game too, it isn’t BlazBlue or KoF13 by any stretch of imagination but still it plays far better than I though after seeing those mid-level play videos. Now, if they didn’t make Kurisu’s unlock a chore I would be happier… >__>

      • Aoshi00

        You mean the Kurisu ending?  Yea, I totally missed that the first time I played it and then had to read up and follow a guide, it’s a couple of answers you need to pick early in chapter 4, who would’ve thought they’re so consequential.. the first time I got Mayuri one and the others..

        I haven’t played Bullet Soul’s co-op yet, I imagine it’d be very fun, I like the relatively simple scoring system too.  But it’s still so hard for me to ever 1cc :(…  I didn’t like the first demo of Phantom Breaker, maybe I’ll check out the 2nd one..  Shikura is demoing it w/ the Xbox magazine editor on Jpn Inside Xbox now :) Too bad the poster girl Hikari-chan was injured before.. now they don’t update as often and it’s not as fun…

        The Jpn guide I used to unlock all the achievement was this, very helpful, getting Kurisu, all the wallpapers and RaiNet stories,

        BTW, do you think Ever17 is worth getting? the new 3D art worries me a bit..

  • The big difference I think is that 5pb seems a lot less focused on telling a story about a bunch of women falling in love with a guy, and is instead trying to make use of the medium on the whole.

    Visual Novels have the potential to be amazing, and there are some great examples out there. But in order to really break out of its smaller audience, companies need to tell great stories. The romance element will work into that.

    5pb is making huge strides in this way, and I hope they continue in this direction.

  • After the excellent 999, I really hope Aksys takes notice of these games. Steins;Gate would be perfect for Xbox 360 Games on Demand.

    • That may not be possible, unfortunately. From what we’ve heard, games above a certain size have to be on disc, and Microsoft won’t allow for a Games on Demand-only release. Possible exceptions to this could be the Resident Evil 4 / Code Veronica ports and Deathsmiles IIX, since I don’t know how large those are in size. Perhaps we’ll see them be more flexible in the future.

      • Deathsmiles IIX is a full-sized, disc-based, 1000-Gamerscore game that was released directly to Games on Demand in the US. There’s a 2GB size limit for XBLA, demos, and DLC, but no size limit for Games on Demand.

        • Whoops. I only just noticed your reply. Sorry! 

          There actually is a file size limit for GoD (it’s higher than XBLA’s), but I’m afraid I can’t say where I heard the info, as it might get someone I know in trouble… 

  • Great achivement for them. More sucess for them, they deserve it.
    Now someone localize those games for the US and EUR audience. Put the games on PSN/XBLA/Steam and see how they do it here. If they sell it enough keep bringing.

    I’m watching the anime series for Steins;Gate and it’s great. Now I want to play the game too.

  • Ladius

    According to Media Create Steins Gate PSP sold 64k last week O__O

    (★ ° ∀ °) ノ indeed

    • malek86

      Ho-lee crap! Looks like PSP owners like their visual novels. And 300k overall is most definitely impressive.

      Do we know which game is the highest selling visual novel ever, anyway?

      • Suicunesol

        Not exactly sure. A google search on the internet resulted in vague results.

        However, if they’re not soon overtaken by Stein’s Gate, the best selling VNs ever are probably either Tsukihime or Fate/Stay Night (both from Type-Moon)

      • Probably Kamaitachi no Yoru from Chunsoft (the makers of 999, 428 and others). It sold 1.25 million copies. Technically, it’s a sound novel, and not a visual novel though, but the only thing different in visual novels is that they tend to be targeted to anime fans, and have anime artstyles, which is offputting to some people, while sound novels are targeted to everyone, and feature realistic graphics.

        Sound Novels is a trademark of Chunsoft,
        which used the term for its novel games such as Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken,
        Otogirisō, Kamaitachi no Yoru, Machi, 428: Fūsa Sareta Shibuya de
        (which received a perfect 40/40 score from Famitsu),
        and more recently 999: Nine Hours, Nine
        Persons, Nine Doors. Sound Novels were the origin of the
        “novel”-type game genre. Both genres share the style and gameplay.
        However the term “Visual Novel” is used by non-Chunsoft developers
        partly to avoid Chunsoft’s trademark and partly to emphasize its focus
        on visuals rather than sound. As later entries in Chunsoft’s own Sound
        Novel series have strengthened its visual expression with 3DCG and
        real-life graphics, the latter difference have pretty much disappeared.licl

  • Darkrise

    All I can say now is, congratz to Shikura-san for his visual novels thus-far, hopefully Dunamis 15 will be just as successful. I still have to catch/finish the anime for Stein’s; Gate…

  • Shikura also composes songs for anime and games, including the vocal tracks for Steins;Gate.

    He played on stage at last years Animelo alongside Kanako Itou.

    • Aoshi00

      That’s cool, yea I realized Shikura composed the songs too, very talented.. but he’s a bit of a meanie.. he was demoing Phantom Breaker on Jpn Inside Xbox playing against Matsui Munetatsu (the Jpn Famitsu Xbox mag editor), beat him twice and was taunting him to no end  :(..  I like his work, but he’s not very modest..  btw, there’s a new girl (Matsumoto Sayuri) demoing MoonDiver w/ Rolling Uchizawa, she was ultra cute and pretty, hope to see more of her.. it has gotten boring since the departure of hikari-chan.. I like all the Steins;Gate songs, but I would rather not see Itou Kanako’s face when she’s singing it *.*… her dancing in the music videos is weird too…

  • TenRX

    Brb, playing this game.

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