Dating-Sims See 83% Growth In 2009 According To Research Firm

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The Yano Research Institute is a research firm founded in 1958 and was Japan’s very first private marketing research company. Every year, Yano publishes annual reports on various demographics, including the “otaku” market in Japan. This year’s otaku report has been translated by Anime News Network.


Something we tend to try and cover on Siliconera as often as we can is the visual novel genre. Visual novels come in all shapes and forms, and one of them is the dating-sim. Yano report that the dating-sim market saw a growth of 83% at approximately $106 million in 2009.


This growth was fueled to a great extent by the success of Konami’s LovePlus on the Nintendo DS, which won two awards in Japan this year for its accomplishments in various fields. Growth in the dating-sim market was also driven by the success of otomé (targeted at women) games on mobile phones.


Note that this category doesn’t include hentai (adult) games, which tend to focus far more on erotic themes.


According to Yano, the dating-sim market is set to see further growth in 2010. Unfortunately, we don’t know whether or not Yano accounted for Project LovePlus while coming up with their 2010 estimates.


The largest category in the otaku sector was doujinshi, which refers to fan-made or “indie” products spanning across manga, videogames and other products. At $788 million, doujinshi handily beat out every other category, with adult videos coming closest and the Japanese idol business in third place.


Digital manga, you’ll notice, is seeing growth, too.


Category 2009 (in USD) 2010 (Estimate)
Electronic Comics (digital manga) $520 million $616 million
Doujinshi $788 million $815 million
Plastic Models $314 million $323 million
Figures US$349 million US$361 million
Dolls $166 million $168 million
Railroad Models (Including Dioramas and Related Products) $197 million $197 million
Idols $668 million $681 million
Cosplay Outfits $500 million $527 million
Maid-, Cosplay-Related Services $103 million $102 million
Online Games $2.625 billion $3.015 billion
Adult Games $367 million $339 million
Adult Videos (Including Adult Video Tapes, DVDs, Downloaded Content) $727 million $713 million
Dating Simulation Games $106 million $126 million
Boys-Love $262 million $262 million

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Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.