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Eroge With Translation Patches and Their Sales

February 13th, 2010, by zalas
Posted in Feature

As can be seen at the Translation Library, there is now a sizable number of completed translation patches for visual novels and related types of games. Has this impacted imports of Japanese games at all? We had a chat over e-mail with Peter Payne of J-List and also took a look at some stats from ErogeShop.com.

For those of you who haven’t been paying close attention to J-List’s catalog, they now stock untranslated Japanese PC games ranging from shooters to full-blown visual novels. Their pricing is roughly equivalent to what Eroge Shop offers. For eroge, J-List currently offers preorders for Illusion’s Real Kanojo and KEROQ’s Subarashiki Hibi as well as two games which have translation patches: CROSS CHANNEL and Fate/stay night. Since owner Peter Payne is also in the business of eroge localization, we decided to ask him about his ideas behind stocking untranslated PC games. Mr. Payne commented that they want to stock games with “high visibility, and also games that are written by people whose games [they've] published before, e.g. Romeo Tanaka.” He also indicated that part of his strategy was to “carry games that have translations so [that they] can help encourage people to not [pirate].” Lastly, Mr. Payne notes that “sales are slow since they’re unfortunately so expensive, but [they'll] keep at it.” During the conversation, we provided him with a list of other high profile translated eroge that J-List may possibly want to carry.

So is Mr. Payne’s strategy sound? A look at the stats over at his competitor in the realm of eroge imports, ErogeShop.com, shows that at least some of the games with translation patches are selling. Their current top 10 bestsellers at the time of writing are:

  1. Fate/stay night
  2. Kanon (Standard Edition)
  3. Dengeki Hime -March Issue-
  4. Fate/hollow ataraxia
  5. Sengoku Rance
  6. School Days (Renewal Package)
  7. Taimanin Asagi DVD-BOX
  8. One -Kagayaku Kisetsu e-
  9. Witchcraft
  10. Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo

Items 3,7 and 9 (crossed out) are not actually eroge, so out of the seven eroge in the top ten, five have completed translation patches (bolded), and the other two have had some work done on a translation patch. Now, obviously this does not imply that having a translation patch means that the game will sell; one could say that popular/high-profile games are the ones that get further along on the road of fan translation. However, it does show at least that some people are buying games that happen to have completed translation patches, regardless of whether the reason is collectability, playability, popularity or morality.

And for those curious about non-adult PC games, HimeyaShop.com’s top ten as of writing were:

  1. Umineko no Nakukoro ni Vol.4 (Doujin)
  2. Healing Theater Umine
  3. Clannad Full Voice
  4. The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil (Doujin)
  5. Higurashi no Nakukoro ni (Doujin)
  6. Mountain of Faith (Doujin)
  7. Megami Magazine -March Issue-
  8. Room Palette Skyrium
  9. Dengeki G’s Magazine -March Issue-
  10. Subterranean Animism (Doujin)

Umineko does represent an interesting point on the curve. According to one of our sources, while 07th Expansion and HOBIBOX wanted to see an official release of Higurashi in English and thus contacted MangaGamer, they were actually fine with Witch Hunt’s translation of Umineko and decided not to pursue an official localization because of that. In fact, if they had heard about the Higurashi fan translation beforehand, they might have not gone through with approaching MangaGamer, either.


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