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Something we get asked about fairly often here at Siliconera is visual novel sales numbers. It’s a genre that not many are instantly familiar with and since they tend not to show up very often on sales trackers, it can be hard to gauge just what number constitutes a success.

 

While I certainly can’t claim to be an expert on the subject, on the word of well-placed sources, I believe 10,000 units is the average magic number most publishers would consider a “hit” in the visual novel market. Right — let that sink in for a moment.

 

In the case of a retail portable or console game, 10,000 units is a number one would normally scoff at. In the world of visual novels, however, 10,000 means the difference between a game that did “okay” and one with a healthy audience. So, with this information in mind, try and take a guess as to how many units of their upcoming visual novel strategy game, Koihime Musou, localization publisher MangaGamer hope to sell.

 

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If you guessed 2,000, give yourself a pat on the back. That’s about how much MangaGamer need for Koihime Musou to sell for Nexton, the original developer of the game, to be satisfied.

 

Here’s the part no one’s going to be happy about: until that number is reached, Nexton — who are funding MangaGamer’s localization of the game — aren’t going to pay the required additional royalties to the game’s high-profile cast of voice actors (yes ladies, your beloved Koyasu-sama is in there, too) that will enable them to use their voices in a territory outside of Japan.

 

Put simply, it means Nexton expect the majority of Koihime’s audience to pirate the game, and until they’re convinced that the title can be profitable, they’ve chosen not to make the large additional investment required to include voices in Koihime’s overseas release.

 

Once 2,000 sold goal has been reached — MangaGamer will be keeping track of sales and updating their fans periodically — a patch will be released, adding voices back into the game. Until then, Koihime Musou will be sold at 39.95 Euros, instead of the original planned 44.95 Euros.

 

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Hold it! I understand this sounds terrible, and a lot of you are probably dying to dive right into the comments to give the folks at MG a piece of your mind. Before you do that, though, you’ll probably want to look at this post (slightly NSFW) where a large community of MangaGamer fans has already taken them to task for the situation.

 

Also, before you voice a “could’ve” or “should’ve” solution, you’ll want to know every suggestion you’re thinking of has likely already been considered and deemed unworkable. Given the market for visual novels, this is, unfortunately, the only available “solution,” aside from either company taking a loss on Koihime Musou.

 

While you mull all of that over in your head, here’s a Koihime Musou demo (very NSFW) to try out before the game’s Winter release.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and a contributing writer at GamesIndustry.biz. 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.

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