Eroge publisher and action figure manufacturer Max Factory recently announced they would be digitally distributing their upcoming game, se.kirara, for free. The news comes from Canned Dogs, who state that the game has over 100 CGs, not including minor variants, and an anime intro. Clearly, se.kirara is a game with a significant budget behind it.
On February 1, the game’s NSFW website was updated with a notice apologizing to dealers, distributors and even competing publishers that would be inconvenienced by the decision. In addition to the free digital copy, a limited edition of the game will be sold at 2,800 yen on DVD, along with a "Figma" action figurine.
To put things in perspective, Max Factory are a fairly large company that own the Figma brand, which is renowned for its detailed accuracy and articulation. Figures from every corner of anime and video game fandom including Hatsune Miku, Suzumiya Haruhi, and characters from Code Geass and Fate/stay Night, to name a few, have been produced under the brand. In fact, the limited edition of Fate/Extra, an upcoming PSP game from Marvelous and Imageepoch, comes with a Figma figurine based on the game’s version of Saber.
It would appear the free distribution of se.kirara is an attempt to promote upcoming merchandise based on the game — provided the game appeals to its consumers. It’s an interesting experiment, and one that will allow the game to stand out amidst a sea of competition. It’s easy to understand why Max Factory felt the need to apologize to their competitors.