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Old 2004-12-09, 15:45   Link #1
drtaylor
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Join Date: Dec 2004
anime PC games - do you want more?

(also in the general anime forum, didn't want anybody to miss out that wanted to provide input)

Hey

I’m a student in North Carolina State University’s MBA program and I am working on a project with a small PC game publisher looking at importing and translating anime-based PC games for the US market. Essentially I’m trying to figure out if the TOKYOPOP model can be replicated in video games.

There are a few basic questions I am trying to answer:
- Do you know of any companies does this now
- Who would be the primary demographic for this type of thing (would it be title-specific or are people hard up enough to play what they can get their hands on?)
- Are people interested in these types of titles (list at the bottom)
- What kind of demand is there for these titles (if you had to guess, how many copies of lesser known PC games could you move)
- What are some ways to get fans involved in the process of getting the games ready for market (have fans work on translation, pick titles to bring over, booths at conventions, etc…)
- What is the best way to translate the games (fans vs. professionals)
- What are some possible things that could mess up games in the fans’ eyes

Some examples (from a general list) of the level of titles (we’re not talking DBZ here) we’d be looking at publishing are:

Galaxy Angels Moonlit Lovers
Galaxy Angels Eternal Lovers
Y's 6
The Legend of Heroes VI: Sora no Kiseki
Shikigami no Shiro 1 and 2
Sequence Palladium 3
PowerDolls 5
Schwarzchild V
Mobius Link Universe
Mobius Link Noir

This isn’t a formal survey or anything; it’s just basically a chance to weigh in on what you think about bringing over some lesser-known anime PC games out there. Feel free to just comment on anything you feel like here or shoot me an email at

animeproject@gmail.com

Thanks for the assist,

-duncan
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Old 2004-12-10, 00:08   Link #2
kenshin77
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Personally I would love to see the evangelion Rei or shinji Raising games be ported over here.
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Old 2004-12-10, 00:16   Link #3
sOnJoOL
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Ys 6 is a good game.
but ps2 version coming soon...
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Old 2004-12-10, 02:26   Link #4
zalas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drtaylor
- Do you know of any companies does this now
- Who would be the primary demographic for this type of thing (would it be title-specific or are people hard up enough to play what they can get their hands on?)
So far I've only seen mostly Hgames. As for console games, there's more, like for instance Bandai.

Quote:
- What are some ways to get fans involved in the process of getting the games ready for market (have fans work on translation, pick titles to bring over, booths at conventions, etc…)
- What is the best way to translate the games (fans vs. professionals)
- What are some possible things that could mess up games in the fans’ eyes
Don't think of fans versus professionals for translators. Think of just translation quality. Professionals can screw up and fans can screw up. Best bet is just to see if the person is a good translator and how much money he/she wants for it. As for messing things up, if a game is not well known, then the only people who would know about it would be people who are immersed in Japanese pop culture. Thus, over-editing would result in a lot of clamor. As for other fan involvement, setting up a booth is a good way to talk to some fans, but you have to make sure that the booth is well publicized or you show clearly what you are looking for.

EDIT: Oh, and if you're thinking of bringing over Galaxy Angels, I would definitely make sure everything is rosy with Bandai USA, but I guess if you can get a deal with Bandai Japan, the Bandai USA part should know about it.
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Old 2004-12-10, 03:19   Link #5
dreamless
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well, the localization part definitely can mess up a game, bugs and messy translations are definitely no-no.

For the games, I think Legend of Heroes and Ys series are nice candidates, since AFAIK Japanese RPGs and Action RPGs are already quite well-received by the west. However I think Galaxy Angel games are a big risk, games with dating sim elements seem to be shunned by a lot of people from the west, even by a lot of the console gamers and anime fans. Even famous titles like Sakura Wars and Evangelion Girlfriend of Steel never got to release in english. If you really manage to get Galaxy Angel games, it may be the first time a big name non-hentai dating sim get released in english, but IMO the risk is quite high. maybe you can try not to market it as dating sim, but as strategy game?
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Old 2004-12-10, 10:30   Link #6
drtaylor
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thanks very much for the input

informative to hear that there's a NA release of Ys 6 planned for the PS2

also great points about dataing sims
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Old 2004-12-10, 11:22   Link #7
hamiko_san
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10 things more, you never know.
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Too much of a good thing is an even greater thing!

Last edited by hamiko_san; 2007-12-25 at 16:42.
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Old 2004-12-10, 12:57   Link #8
drtaylor
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market saturation for everything else or do they tend to not carry over as well if they aren't mmorpgs?
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Old 2004-12-10, 14:32   Link #9
Benoit
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Dating sims a no-no?

If you would visit Newgrounds once in a while, you'll see that there is actually great interest for it. But the pornographic games put people off. So a non-hentai dating sim would be the way to go for now.
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Old 2004-12-10, 16:21   Link #10
dreamless
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sure there is great interest in dating sims among certain groups of people (actually Newsground has high interest in hentai dating sims it seems ), but we are talking about general gamers here. we are talking about at least 100 thousands sales to make a profit. I'm not sure how would average people react when they see an ad about a game where the main goal is to date 2D anime girls and worse yet some of them look underage. I guess it'd be extremely hard to market.

Last edited by dreamless; 2004-12-10 at 16:31.
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Old 2004-12-11, 07:05   Link #11
Benoit
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The problem is that no one has really tried yet, and everyone seems to automatically think it will fail. However, we sort of have one example.

Thousand Arms

It's an RPG where you date girls to gain strength at some points. If you see someone selling it these days, prepare to pay a load of money. It's very hard to find. It's for the PSX.
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Old 2004-12-11, 08:32   Link #12
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Tokimeki Memorial. I'd kill to get Tokimeki Memorial (and/or its successors) translated.
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Old 2004-12-11, 08:55   Link #13
dreamless
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benoit
The problem is that no one has really tried yet, and everyone seems to automatically think it will fail. However, we sort of have one example.

Thousand Arms

It's an RPG where you date girls to gain strength at some points. If you see someone selling it these days, prepare to pay a load of money. It's very hard to find. It's for the PSX.
the problem is that since even big companies like SEGA and GAINAX are not willing to try it, it means you are taking a huge risk if you want to try it. we are not talking about fan translations here, we are talking about commercial localizations, you need to spend hundreds of thousands to acquire the rights, pay for the ads, print the manuals, do the localization, etc. etc. the stake here is high. Thousand Arms was a console game (which is relatively more tolerant to this kind of stuff), and was not marketted as dating sim, and it was not really a commercial success. The fact that it's very rare and you need to pay a lot to get one nowadays means it's quite a niche title.

That's why I think if he wants to try bring Galaxy Angel games to english PC gaming market, he should realize it's a huge risk he's taking, and maybe he should take certain precautions in marketting them. Maybe you'd kill to get those dating sims to be released in english, but are you willing/able to pay hundreds of thousands to help them acquire the rights and pay for the ads and localization and things? He's talking about business here, and it won't help him whether the game will become a rarity and people pay loads of money to get it if his company goes bankrupt.

he's working with a small PC game publisher, not some business giants with tons of money to waste on risky ventures, so I think it'd be safer to work with some "safer" titles first, before trying the risky ones... of course he can take the risk and try them first and maybe it'll be a huge success, but IMO the risk involved is quite high.

BTW, personally speaking, I'm all for translating dating sims to english... both hentai and non-hentai ones

Last edited by dreamless; 2004-12-11 at 09:19.
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Old 2004-12-11, 13:18   Link #14
bishounen_blue
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I would love to see the Galaxy Angel PC games translated in English. This is just the kind of title that we need to get more westerners to see that dating sims and anime go together like cookies and milk. Even though I like ero games, sadly, they can only be marketed as "porn" in the west. (such a shame) The non-adult dating sims are about impossible to find in English. The Galaxy Angel games woudl be good because the characters are from an existing anime so it could pull more fans in instantly compared with Tokimeki Memorial. Also, I have heard that Konami will not allow Tokimemo to be translated into English. I'm not sure about Bandai's stace on this issue.
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Old 2004-12-11, 13:26   Link #15
shadowplay
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamless
...but we are talking about general gamers here. we are talking about at least 100 thousands sales to make a profit.
100.000!?!?! Lol , it would be miracle if something like Galaxy Angel could sell 10.000 in the west let alone ten times more, plus I doubt they need to sell that much to make a profit.

The fact that companies like Peach Princess, JAST USA and G-Collections are still existing means that there are market for bishoujo/eroge games in the west afterall, like I've said I doubt their games are reaching 100.000 copies sales, yet they obviously still make enough profit to continue with their job.

Personally I'm only interested in bishoujo games, and even though there are few companies (afore mentioned) in US that do publish games like that, overall quality of their licensee choices is still rather poor.
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Old 2004-12-11, 14:31   Link #16
drtaylor
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all good points

just to add some more info

a lot of the bigger companies haven't tried it (i think) because the demand isn't there for the kind of sales numbers that their titles need to generate to be profitable

they have fixed selling & admin costs in addition to licensing that drives the numbers they need way up - not to mention it has to be a big seller to impact their bottom line in any of the digits you see on financial statements

just as a benchmark

if this company could sell 20,000 copies of something, there would be cause to celebrate - part of what i'm doing is figuring out how to get the fans to participate and build demand to keep cost down

people would clearly like to have these kinds of games and a small company is pretty much the only one that can do it and even then it's a stretch - it'll take some creative ideas to get it going

hope that helps frame up the problem for you a little better
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Old 2004-12-11, 14:40   Link #17
drtaylor
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i've also retooled my questions based on what people are telling me

- Would you buy an anime PC game based on a series that you hadn’t seen or would you only be interested in games based on anmie/manga you already know about
- What types of formats would you like to see for anime PC games (RTS, MMORPG, RPG, dating sim – quite a few of them are dating sims)
- What are some ways to get fans involved in the process of getting the games ready for market (have fans work on translation, pick titles to bring over, booths at conventions, promotion/reviews on Adult Swim, etc…)
- What are some possible things that could mess up games in the fans’ eyes

if you guys want to take a crack at those

this is all really helpful and it's looking like something that i can recommend doing as long as the company pays close attnetion to what the fans really want
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Old 2004-12-11, 15:21   Link #18
dreamless
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowplay
100.000!?!?! Lol , it would be miracle if something like Galaxy Angel could sell 10.000 in the west let alone ten times more, plus I doubt they need to sell that much to make a profit.

The fact that companies like Peach Princess, JAST USA and G-Collections are still existing means that there are market for bishoujo/eroge games in the west afterall, like I've said I doubt their games are reaching 100.000 copies sales, yet they obviously still make enough profit to continue with their job.

Personally I'm only interested in bishoujo games, and even though there are few companies (afore mentioned) in US that do publish games like that, overall quality of their licensee choices is still rather poor.
well, if you sell only 10,000 copies, and each copy is, say, 50 dollars, you get 500,000 dollars, and hopefully the publisher can get 60% of the profit, that's 300,000 dollars. So you need to strike a deal with Broccoli (I don't think Bandai owns any right to the galaxy angel games, but I'm not sure about the details) to acquire the rights to Galaxy Angel games and do all those localization and marketting stuffs with 300,000 dollars. I'm not sure that's even enough to pay for sufficient advertisements lest noone knows about it when it's out. Also Galaxy Angel is quite a famous franchise in Japan so I doubt you can get the rights nearly as cheaply as some ero-games.
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Old 2004-12-11, 16:04   Link #19
Benoit
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Quote:
The fact that companies like Peach Princess, JAST USA and G-Collections are still existing means that there are market for bishoujo/eroge games in the west afterall, like I've said I doubt their games are reaching 100.000 copies sales, yet they obviously still make enough profit to continue with their job.
Don't be so sure of that. They survive, yes, but barely. Piracy is a big thorn in their eyes.
If the situation continues as it is now, there's a good chance the company won't be able to make it to the future in a couple of years.
Quote:
- Would you buy an anime PC game based on a series that you hadn’t seen or would you only be interested in games based on anmie/manga you already know about
Personally, both.
Quote:
- What types of formats would you like to see for anime PC games (RTS, MMORPG, RPG, dating sim – quite a few of them are dating sims)
RPG, dating sim and strategy sim.
Quote:
- What are some ways to get fans involved in the process of getting the games ready for market
Having polls about major decisions and which titles to translate would be a good start.
Quote:
- What are some possible things that could mess up games in the fans’ eyes
-Poor translation.
Like typos, inaccuracies, leaving things out, and messing with the cultural elements. I believe things like san, sama, etc. should be left in.

-Bugs/chrashes
Of course.
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Old 2004-12-11, 17:24   Link #20
Entropy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamless
well, if you sell only 10,000 copies, and each copy is, say, 50 dollars, you get 500,000 dollars, and hopefully the publisher can get 60% of the profit, that's 300,000 dollars. So you need to strike a deal with Broccoli (I don't think Bandai owns any right to the galaxy angel games, but I'm not sure about the details) to acquire the rights to Galaxy Angel games and do all those localization and marketting stuffs with 300,000 dollars.
It's actually more like a 20-80 ratio favoring the Publisher when you consider the economics of making games,and often even the smallest games have costs upwards of the million mark at the bare minimum so even if it was 40-60 you'd still be at a loss.

Of course,this is for an entirely different genre,the Western RTS or RPG genre to be exact.

Last edited by Entropy; 2004-12-11 at 17:34.
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