May 26th, 2011, by
Posted in News, Translation , Tagged: Android, Anime Expo, bamboo, DEARDROPS, Dengeki Stryker, ef, Go Go Japan, Kanon, Key, Kira Kira, Koihime Musou, MangaGamer, NNL, Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa nai, Otakon, OVERDRIVE, Shuffle!, Steam, Ustream, Visual Art's
MangaGamer had a live Q&A session on Ustream, hosted by OVERDRIVE’s president bamboo. About 170 people watched the stream with about 50 people choosing to join the Ustream chat. There were three volunteer translators for the event, trying to handle the deluge of questions from the viewers. The stream itself was focused on bamboo wearing a hat, with a poster of one of the characters from OVERDRIVE’s upcoming game Dengeki Stryker in the background. The topics at the Q&A were all over the place — it was a very casual atmosphere. The questions covered things like possible licenses, sales, and hard copies, but also covered bamboo’s personal tastes in things like games, alcohol, and even women. Below are most of the questions from the event, in the order bamboo’s answers appeared in the chat log.
Jenny Draper: Does MangaGamer intend to provide more up to date eroge?
bamboo: We are choosing games based on companies that are interested in overseas and who are willing to invest into the project. We are sorry about some delays for some titles such as ef. The most difficult part of my job is negotiating with the game companies.
onyxsyaoran: I’d like you to localize Steins;Gate!
bamboo: Please tell that to 5pb. We are choosing games based on user opinions and companies who are interested, but it still takes a long time to make the companies interested in the overseas market.
LGJinnai: Do you have any plans to make more visual novels with interactive game play? Outside Japan, games are looked upon with disdain if they lack decent game play.
bamboo: Games with game play are difficult to develop at this time. We need a lot of cooperation with the game companies to make it into a reality. I think it will take a bit longer until we can attract more companies, even though we have been trying for 3 years now.
iAX_SPJA: Do you play any Western-developed games? If so, what’s your favorite(s) and do you think you can apply any of the practices/themes from them into your visual novels?
bamboo: I play a lot of Western games, my favorite is Fallout 3! The current situation in Japan is like Fallout 3, lol.
bamboo: What do you guys call our genre? Bishoujo games? Visual novels?
(Most people call them visual novels, some said eroge, one said bishoujo game. Some people were more detailed.)
yeahorsomething: Have you ever cried while reading an eroge? Which?
bamboo: Yes, I cry a lot when I play these games!
krat6: In the future, will it be possible to release games at the same time overseas as in Japan?
bamboo: Yes, in the future we might be able to release games overseas at the same time… but we don’t have the money to do that yet.
rkiosuku: It’s expensive, isn’t it.
bamboo: Yes, it’s expensive! You might think that Japanese game companies are big, but in reality there are barely 10 staff members. That’s why they try to concentrate on the Japanese market first. And they have a difficult time appointing people to manage the overseas market.
wizzlewiz: Have most companies in Japan been pleased with the sales of the localized versions in the west? Have your efforts improved the Japanese market’s perspective of the western market?
bamboo: The companies selling their games through MangaGamer are still not selling as they want, so they are practically doing it as a free service at the moment. They need to sell over 2000-3000 copies to make an actual profit. It might still take time to make it into a real business, but sales and members have been steadily increasing.
Kittaka_Fuyuka: What is happening with Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa nai? Is there a chance of it being translated?
bamboo: The negotiations for Oretsuba are going steadily.
yeahorsomething: Bamboo, yaranaika?
bamboo: No thank you!
Counter_Arts: Have you thought about bringing budget value titles at around $15 to help grow the market?
bamboo: It depends on the titles and their contents, but if those game companies are interested…
wizzlewiz: What plans do you have to attempt to quicken the expansion of the Western market? Also, more importantly, do you still have high hopes for the Western market?
bamboo: MangaGamer is still relying on the Internet and conventions for promotion.
rotinoma: Will bamboo make it to Otakon one year?
bamboo: I haven’t gone to Otakon and would like to, but I’m going to at least AX this year. I would like to answer more questions at the AX panel in person.
girlsinspats: What are your thoughts on creating a Steam-like application for the digital distribution of eroge?
bamboo: I would like to make a system like Steam personally, but the market is not big enough yet unfortunately…
NintendoManiac64: Wouldn’t stronger support of iOS and Android avoid the need for something like Steam?
bamboo: We don’t have any plans to release games on Android as MangaGamer, but we are releasing Kira☆Kira for it as OVERDRIVE.
bamboo: I have left the project in the hands of the overseas staff for a while, but I would like to keep in touch with people using these chat sessions and things. It might take a long time, but eventually I would like to get the word out.
komeP: Where do you hope MangaGamer will be in five years?
bamboo: It might be gone, it it might still he around 5 years from now. If it is, I imagine that there would be a lot more titles by then.
Counter_Arts: Have you considered translating a high quality Japanese doujin circle’s bishoujo game?
bamboo: If there is a high demand, we would go for doujin games too. MangaGamer is still small, so what we negotiate depends on the demands of the fans.
Asceai: Who are your favorite eroge scenario writers?
bamboo: I like all of the eroge writers I’ve worked with.
bamboo: Basically, it costs money to localize games. A lot of money. Testing and especially voices are expensive. They sometimes goes over the cost of the rest of the project. Voices also involve changes in the contracts with within Japan, such as the ones made with voice actor agencies.
LGJinnai: Do you think fan translators that have tried to promote buying the official Japanese releases of games instead of pirating them have helped the industry?
bamboo: I think that fan translators were not helping us at all, until last year, when NNL started helping us with ef. So I think that cooperating with fan translators is an effective way to develop the market… Although, I still feel negatively towards fan translators who translate without the approval of the companies. But I am looking forward to releasing Dengeki Stryker to the Western market — it’s made a bit with the Western market in mind.
yeahorsomething: What is your favorite beer?
bamboo: I actually don’t like beer/alcohol that much!
Kittaka_Fuyuka DEARDROPS ranked 194th in PUSH!!’s 2010 PC Bishoujo Game Sales Ranking. Was it a failure?
bamboo: DEARDROPS didn’t fail! It was…profitable.
girlsinspats: Would you consider selling character goods/related merchandise (from COSPA or other manufacturers) of games you have released in the MangaGamer online store?
bamboo: COSPA is doing international sales on their own, so we probably won’t be involved. We might make our own products though. Like goods for conventions. But we don’t have anywhere to ship them from.
Asceai: Is there a MangaGamer ita-sha?
bamboo: No, but there is an OVERDRIVE ita-sha.
bamboo: We won’t be bringing many guests this year to AX, sadly.
hikarisc: When is the next chat?
bamboo: I would like to do this kind of chat twice a month.
Astraea127: How would you make VNs/bishoujo games appeal more to Western audiences? Would you start from licensing more all-ages games to absorb people into it?
bamboo: I don’t know how we would suddenly expand the VN market in the west, but I would like to start with a title like Go Go Japan that is acceptable to everyone.
Nuriomarayana: Any details on Go Go Japan? Will it be sold at AX? When will it be sold online? Have you determined the exact price?
bamboo: Go Go Japan probably won’t make it to AX, but we are planning to release it by this fall.
Asceai: Do you like natto?
bamboo: I like natto! Didn’t expect that question, lol.
Diffor: What’s your favorite, breasts or butts?
bamboo: Oppai. I like middle oppai.
StromIV: What are the chances of other games being sold as boxed hard copies instead of download?
bamboo: There are plans to release hard copies of other games, but I can’t say which titles yet.
Minimoto714: Which eroge do you recommend the most?
bamboo: Of course the most recommended eroge are OVERDRIVE games!
NintendoManiac64: Tsundere or yandere?
bamboo: I don’t want to end up in a situation like in School Days, hanging out with a yandere girl, so no thank you!
LGJinnai: Do the English sales of VNs seem to be going in the right direction?
bamboo: The sales of English VNs are steadily increasing, but it’s not enough to convince the companies. We aren’t getting paid to do this by the way.
wizzlewiz: Have you made a profit on any MangaGamer titles? Conversely, have you lost any money on MangaGamer titles?
bamboo: Titles like Shuffle and Koihime were pretty profitable. So I guess well-known titles do better. Kira☆Kira surprisingly did well too.
LGJinnai: What do you have to say when people say that the price in US dollars is too much, as it is the same as buying a physical game for PC or console systems?
bamboo:We are carefully adjusting the prices of the games based on the original prices and costs. Of course if the market expands, we can lower the prices…
Nuriomarayana: Any chance of seeing Kanon in the West officially?
bamboo: Visual Art’s current isn’t interested in the overseas market… but since their president is a business person, if there is a high demand for it…?
bamboo: Like I said before, Japanese companies are small, so it’s hard to answer to demands such as “Release the games quicker!”, but we are working hard on it. I would like to hold sessions like this in the future, and try hard so that overseas fans can enjoy bishoujo games as well. Please support MangaGamer! Who’s going to AX by the way? Please bring your friends to the AX panel – it’ll probably be held on the 3rd day! tororo danchou will be there too.
Counter_Arts: I wish I could go! I’m in Canada though…
ch0ux: Me too… Being in Canada sucks that way.
bamboo: It’s unsafe to own eroge in Canada, so be careful!?
(People stated where they are from, there were viewers from all over the world, including Latin America and South America, though most of the people were from North America and Europe)
bamboo: Thank you for your time, we’ll do this again! I’ll post the next schedule on the forums when it’s decided.
MangaGamer’s official blog (NSFW) also has an overview of the Q&A session in a more narrative format.