Siliconera Sounds Off: Offering Visual Novels On Consoles



This week, we wrap up our talk with MangaGamer with talk of visual novels potentially appearing on consoles in the West.



Localization Editor, MangaGamer – EvoSpace

Siliconera – Ishaan Sahdev


https://www.siliconera.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/sso_ishaan3.jpg?resize=82%2C82 Ishaan: Demos certainly don’t hurt when trying to reach out to more people. I found the KiraKira demo in particular very impressive, personally. It wasn’t too short, and it really made me want to see the full game. What about something beyond that, like posting news on visual novels released in Japan to see what clicks with your fans?


https://www.siliconera.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/sso_evospace3.jpg?resize=84%2C84 EvoSpace: Yes. Ideally, there should be a demo for every game. It should help our sales in the long run. Posting news in Japan is something we did think about, but the workload required for frequent updates means a whole business by itself. So at the moment, we’re thinking about how to use our "column" section effectively, but different from our "staff blog."


Ishaan: Do you think editing out the sexual content would help reach more people? From what I understand, putting these games on consoles may not be worth the investment for a variety of reasons, but now that we have services like DSiWare and Playstation Network, do you think stripping out the sex and distributing them digitally on consoles would give you exposure to the anime and RPG audience? For example, Hudson released a game called Himitsu no Ooku on DSiWare last year…


EvoSpace: I’m not sure about "reaching out to more people" because in order to enjoy these titles, the customer / user needs to be of certain age anyway, and most of the time, the sex scenes are part of the story. At least in Japan, the all-age bishoujo visual novels never sell like the Adults-only equivalent (Unless its a big title like Little Busters!), and could even be a dangerous investment. As for the titles that already have an all age version, yes, it is possible to offer them in English along with the Adult version.


I can’t say about console DSiWare and PSN because we haven’t done any research yet, but maybe in the future…


Ishaan: Mainstream games are only just making progress in the realm of depicting and talking about sex, whereas visual novels and h-games have been doing this for ages. Do you ever feel they could play a big role in the future of the industry?


EvoSpace: Yes, more of the bigger titles are indeed implementing those elements today. But at the other end, there are the bigger titles in the H-game/visual novels market, which are living on with little or no h-scenes.


I think this means there are much more, wider tastes in videogames today than ever, and satisfying each customer is as difficult as ever. For example; there is a small category of this genre of its own — the love-adventure games — in the Japanese console market, since maybe the Sega Saturn days. Maybe we can develop this category in the western game market, maybe not.


In the end, I feel MangaGamer.com should be like a library of these games where customers can specifically choose a title to their liking instead of simply labeling all of them "porn."


Missed a piece? Catch up on the entire SSO with MangaGamer:

Part 1: Talking Localization And Expansion With MangaGamer

Part 2: Why Some Visual Novels Never Get Localized

Part 3: The Visual Novel’s Barriers To Entry

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.