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Old 2008-03-08, 08:47   Link #1
LiberLibri
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Question Is it possible to sell Eroges abroad?

I found the budgetary data of an eroge/ H-game (source: rev:エロゲの開発費).

Production Costs: 6650 (thousands Japanese Yen. hereafter the same)
Scripts 1200
Sketch 1500
Character CG 2000
Scenery CG 300
Movie 200
Music 350
Song 200
Computer Programme 900

Distribution / Promotion Costs: 3690
Flier & Poster 400
Magazine Ads. 750
Trial Ver. 300
Extra Gifts (teleca) 90
Duplication 2000
Ethical Authorisation 50
Carriage 100

Office Rent 1000

Total Cost: 11340
(Note: this game does not contain voice)

Given one copy of the software is sold to a consumer at 8.8, the production company gets the half of it (4.4), and the distributers the other half. To keep the budget in balance, they must sell at least 2578 copies.

I was astonished for the break-even point was very low. Today most games include voices, and the consumers desire longer scenarios, thus the total cost of each work is possibly higher than above. However, the whole market scale is after all thousands-copies.

I do not know how many potential customers are in the Anglophone area. If I can expect one thousand, it would be worth planning exportation. Online-downloading for, say, 3 (30 US$), multiplied by 1000, could cover the localisation cost (voice and scripts).

The potential problems are:
- Can they find English voice actors/actresses who do not mind the embarassing words?
- Legislations for moral/sexual matters differ among the state governments. Some US districts are relatively strict for these topics and legal risks in a commonlaw jurisdiction is incredibly high.
- Online-downloading is often the first step to an uncontrollable piracy.

Last edited by LiberLibri; 2008-03-09 at 05:26. Reason: Office Rent 100 -> 1000. Thanks, SinsI.
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Old 2008-03-08, 10:01   Link #2
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It's not a feasible idea. The simplest reason for this is that Western markets have no idea what an eroge is, and even if you educate them on what it is, it will never be anything other than a simple porn game for them.

The Japanese companies who are behind the big titles are also going to be very unwilling towards letting Western companies license their products, only to suffer losses.

I can expound as to why it's not a good idea, but I don't have the time right now.
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Old 2008-03-08, 11:02   Link #3
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In the link you've given rent is 10000$, not a 1000$ like you've stated.

Peach Princess has quite a good list of eroge so it is profitable. But I doubt the market is able to sustain more than one or two such companies.

Eroge are not exactly computer games, they are much closer to manga - practically all you need is an artist and a scriptwriter, so they ARE cheap.

P.S. english localization also requires redrawing to remove censorship, so add those costs too.
P.P.S. and if some japanese bigwig doesn't want to sell you the rights - you can always do what Korean manga publishers did in similar situation - hire your own artist and create a re-make of the game you want.

Last edited by SinsI; 2008-03-08 at 11:24.
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Old 2008-03-08, 11:21   Link #4
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I don't think they actually redraw any of the CGs. They just get the original uncensored CGs from the Japanese company.
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Old 2008-03-08, 14:01   Link #5
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P.P.S. and if some japanese bigwig doesn't want to sell you the rights - you can always do what Korean manga publishers did in similar situation - hire your own artist and create a re-make of the game you want.
What exactly do you mean by "remake"? A ripoff or clone of the original story?

In any case, if American publishers struggle to sell localized works, then original production is out of the question.

Quote:
I don't think they actually redraw any of the CGs. They just get the original uncensored CGs from the Japanese company.
That depends if the uncensored CGs actually exist. Often, those details have to be added (for the first time; with mosaics required by Japanese law, some artists don't bother with the details), either by the original illustrator or another person altogether.
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Old 2008-03-08, 14:27   Link #6
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Originally Posted by SinsI View Post
Peach Princess has quite a good list of eroge so it is profitable.
More like: Peach Princess has a long list of bad games that eroge publishers going bankrupt throw at their feet, so it costs them very little to get the licence, thus they are profitable.
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Old 2008-03-08, 16:45   Link #7
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Originally Posted by LiberLibri View Post
The potential problems are:
- Can they find English voice actors/actresses who do not mind the embarassing words?
- Legislations for moral/sexual matters differ among the state governments. Some US districts are relatively strict for these topics and legal risks in a commonlaw jurisdiction is incredibly high.
- Online-downloading is often the first step to an uncontrollable piracy.
The first 2 are just minor annoyances in the localization process. There are people who dub porn and the differences between states are often the difference of 18 and 21 year olds who can view that material.

The major problem is that there is no demand for eroge abroad beyond a tiny niche that is currently being satisfied (somewhat) by fan translations. Those people who know about eroge and have in interest in playing them probably know about torrents and it's really up to them whether they want to "do the right thing" and pay $90-100 for ONE game. That's way too steep for markets abroad where games usually cost no more than $60, but probably will be the price.
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Old 2008-03-08, 16:52   Link #8
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Originally Posted by rg4619 View Post
What exactly do you mean by "remake"? A ripoff or clone of the original story?
In any case, if American publishers struggle to sell localized works, then original production is out of the question.
Both. Like La Chèvre and Pure Luck
It might actually be easier to sell such a not-so-close adaptation, and it costs far less to create a remake (compared to the original) - i.e. instead of using expensive japanese mangaka you can outsource the art to China.
30% of the original cost is distribution, add your localization costs - and you'd spend like 50% of the original cost anyways. And that - without counting the license fee! Why not spend 60% instead and gain your own product that you can later sell to the japanese themselves ? (Just kidding, it's one hell of a trouble dealing with the japanese market).
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Old 2008-03-08, 19:15   Link #9
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To Americans (myself included): Eroge=porn.

Porn game.

Do those two words together like that not make you feel in the least disturbed?

I rest my case.
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Old 2008-03-08, 19:32   Link #10
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Originally Posted by Demongod86
Porn game.

Do those two words together like that not make you feel in the least disturbed?
It makes me disturbed by seeing how easily it is to generalize things by labeling a stereotype on something and dismiss everything on that notion, especially since i have doubts most people making such claims have actually bothered to "play" a visual novel before, but i rest my case

Yes, there are ones that have little purpose besides delivering the 18+ content. But there are also ones that are heavily story based and may contain little to none 18+ material (though it isn't exactly an eroge if it has none) (which doesn't take anything away from otherwise good story either). Yet we just swept everything under one rug.

Some "productions" from American film industry are porn films/contain sex scenes. Therefore American film industry = porn ?


That said, i highly doubt the questionable success in such a regard would have more to do with the audience generally not being that interested in such form of entertainment (It is an even more niche market than Anime itself, which is already very niche) and thus simply not being profitable enough to be worth the trouble in most cases.
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Old 2008-03-08, 20:14   Link #11
Asceai
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Originally Posted by Demongod86 View Post
To Americans (myself included): Eroge=porn.

Porn game.

Do those two words together like that not make you feel in the least disturbed?

I rest my case.
Yep, that's all eroges are. Porn games.

Clearly, the reason that games like Kanon, AIR, Fate/stay Night etc. are all so popular, have had very successful console ports and anime series adaptations is because they're filled with PORN. The story, characters and scenario never had anything to do with it =p

EDIT: That was just a fraction, because those particular games are ones pretty much everyone's heard of, but they are by no means the exception. I've got a ridiculous number of eroge titles that I would still have enjoyed just as much if they didn't contain even a scrap of H. Hell, even a number of JAST/PP/GC titles come under this (only about 2-3 or so, but my point is still valid).

Last edited by Asceai; 2008-03-08 at 20:17. Reason: Added some more
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Old 2008-03-08, 20:15   Link #12
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Originally Posted by Skyfall View Post
Yes, there are ones that have little purpose besides delivering the 18+ content. But there are also ones that are heavily story based and may contain little to none 18+ material (though it isn't exactly an eroge if it has none) (which doesn't take anything away from otherwise good story either). Yet we just swept everything under one rug.
I'd dare to say there are some eroges who are heavily story based, kick ass plot, soundtrack, voice acting and stuff and even have an overdose of 18+ content that, believe it or not, fit into the plot very well, if you're into more obscure stuff.
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Old 2008-03-08, 20:34   Link #13
Asceai
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In answering the thread's question, I think it could work given a very good licensing arrangement with the original producer. To be honest, I've gotten the idea from some things I've heard (such as Key's million dollar 'fuck you' to the collective English localisation market) that some Japanese companies just don't get that visual novels aren't going to sell very well at all overseas. If we could get an arrangement where the original producer agrees to only take 20% or so of the net profit from sales, I think with popular titles it would be very possible to break even. First of all, I think we should discard the notion of un-mosaicing the CGs. We don't need that, nobody needs that, and it only costs more time and money. Then, given a fairly lightweight translation team (maybe just a couple of people, working full-time) and cheap distribution methods (online would do) it could be doable. Games with successful anime adaptations will already have a bit of an overseas following, so those should be targeted first. It would be interesting to see if it could work out. However, the licensing arrangement would have to be very good. Logically, VN companies should have no problem with this (they aren't going to be making money out of the overseas market anyway, for the most part) but, from what I've seen, this isn't necessarily the case.
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Old 2008-03-08, 21:06   Link #14
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To be honest, I've gotten the idea from some things I've heard (such as Key's million dollar 'fuck you' to the collective English localisation market) that some Japanese companies just don't get that visual novels aren't going to sell very well at all overseas.
Companies like Key/VisualArt's are probably well aware of the low sales potential. In fact, that's probably why they couldn't be bothered to engage in any meaningful negotiations. Unless someone were to pitch an offer they couldn't refuse (a million bucks?), it's a needless hassle.

On the other hand, the situation is different with struggling developers (who really need extra money, small as the amount might be).

Quote:
cheap distribution methods (online would do) it could be doable.
Getting licensors on board the digital distribution bandwagon might be challenging. However, I think it's necessary for any niche market.
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Old 2008-03-08, 21:29   Link #15
Asceai
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Well, unless you've got a crapload of capital from somewhere, straight up licensing fees won't work, even if they are pretty low. I have no figures to back this up, but I bet localised eroge sold online would have a sales curve similar to indie games - they would probably manage to make a respectable amount of money, but over a very long period of time (unlike the front-loaded curve of sales that the eroge in question would have originally sold at). So you'd need to have a heap of titles on the go at any time for the business to stay afloat. I think that, given some understanding from the original producers, it could be a viable business model.
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Old 2008-03-08, 21:37   Link #16
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Originally Posted by theacefrehley View Post
I'd dare to say there are some eroges who are heavily story based, kick ass plot, soundtrack, voice acting and stuff and even have an overdose of 18+ content that, believe it or not, fit into the plot very well, if you're into more obscure stuff.
In example well at least IMO Shuffle! or Bible Black

Quote:
Originally Posted by Demongod86 View Post
To Americans (myself included): Eroge=porn.

Porn game.

Do those two words together like that not make you feel in the least disturbed?

I rest my case.
As an American myself, I take offence from that statement

I consider an Eroge to = plot with porn
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Old 2008-03-08, 21:47   Link #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Demongod86 View Post
To Americans (myself included): Eroge=porn.

Porn game.

Do those two words together like that not make you feel in the least disturbed?

I rest my case.
Well that's what I first thought. However, just talking to someone with experience with visual novels changed that thought. The point is not many people have someone who have played them before to talk to, so yeah, they really see porn game. It's really just an exposure problem, not an ignorance problem.
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Old 2008-03-09, 00:34   Link #18
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You won't just be spending on marketing, you'll also be spending money for educating your target demographics! That spells quite a bit of struggle.
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Old 2008-03-09, 06:15   Link #19
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Originally Posted by Toua View Post
More like: Peach Princess has a long list of bad games that eroge publishers going bankrupt throw at their feet, so it costs them very little to get the licence, thus they are profitable.
Yeah, Crowd, Will and CD-Bros are all bankrupt by now.

Oh wait, they're not. Stupid troll.
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Old 2008-03-09, 07:27   Link #20
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Yeah I know it is a very tiny niche, but here how tiny it is is the most significant variable. Less than one hundred / hundreds / thousands / more than that? We cannot save just ten or twenty people, but if they are hundreds, some options would be left. If it is feasible to build a sound commercial relation between the consumers and the creators then it will be the most desirable way. (though it would certainly deprive some amateurs of the pleasure of do-it-yourself).

The size of total Otaku industry in Japan is said to be around 410 billions JPY and 1.7 millions customers (source: 野村総研, data of 2004). These figures include such related areas as train-otakus. More "core" areas can be summarised as followings;

Comic: 83 billions JPY / 350 thousands customers
Anime: 20 billions / 110 thousands
Game : 21 billions / 160 thousands

In short, Comic:Anime:Manga = 4:1:1 in Japan.

I cannot find the figures on the whole Eroge market. There are about 600 items a year. Supposing that these all reach the break-even, and taking it into account that the figure I introduced at #1 is of a relatively large production, I imagine the total eroge sales in Japan is at most 30-40 million US$. Not exceeding 5% of Comic.

According to the statistics of Publishers Weekly, Manga sales in the US was "$170 million–$200 million" in 2006. Applying the ratio above, optimistcally potential eroge market in the US would be 10 million US$.

That seems rather favourable to me... But is it realistic? I cannot believe in confidence.
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