MangaGamer On The Hurdles Of Collaborating With Japanese Publishers


MangaGamer held another of their livestreams yesterday, with president, Hiroshi Takeuchi, answering fan questions regarding the company’s working process and future projects.


While MangaGamer will be publishing a summary of the stream on their blog in the near future, a fan who assisted with translation during the stream has posted his own summary notes on Twitter.


One of the points mentioned during the stream was Go! Go! Nippon! sales. The game released at the end of September, and since then, MangaGamer say it hasn’t been selling all that well, but that they have better hopes for it over an extended period.


As of now, the cost of translating games in general is substantial, and even recouping that cost is proving to be difficult. This is the reason Go! Go! Nippon! doesn’t feature voicework. It would be possible were the game to continue selling, and if MangaGamer could release DLC for it and have it sell well, but as of now, the inclusion of voices in’t feasible, cost-wise.


On the subject of collaborating with Japanese developers, MangaGamer say that convincing companies to publish their games overseas is very difficult unless they get them to visit western countries and interact with fans in the west.


In the case of other publishers, interest depends on sales. When a Japanese publisher is approached with a proposal, their first question regarding the project is: “Will it sell?” The struggle in this case is proving that the business is sustainable. For example, in the case of Innocent Grey, localization of other Innocent Grey games depends on the sales of Kara no Shoujo.


Another example would be Visual Art’s Key brand. On the subject of Key games, MangaGamer say Key are interested in licensing titles out for Asia, but not for western territories. Visual Art’s president, Takahiro Baba, has even shown his disapproval for people outside of Japan importing their games, due to cultural differences.

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.