this price was set by the publisher


Get ready for a Pokémon Switch game!

“Look upon the stars”

There is going to be an official Pokemon event named “Look upon the stars” on May 20th at Pokemon centers, and the event is going to release a line of merchandise that’s centered around the theme of stars and constellations.

According to a Chinese Leak, that was confirmed to be true with Primarina, Incineroar, and Decidueye in the Datamines. There was more to come from the Pokémon Co.

We have yet to receive, THREE NEW STARTER POKEMON!

Long ago, @megapokemonxy discovered and published and deleted a Leak that basically said:

“There will be new version exclusive starter Pokémon in the next Pokémon Game, that will resemble the Zodiac signs.”

LEAK: Game will be set in on the new gen console/handheld.

CONFIRMED: Stars will be set in the new gen console The Switch.

LEAK: The will be 2 sets of starters, based on the version you pick. Western Zodiac starters: Bull, Chimera, Ram. Eastern Zodiac Starters: Horse, Rabbit, and Dragon

“based on the version you pick.”

Two Versions of Pokémon Stars?!

Which is what @megapokemonxy published:

Pokémon Co. may keep the price tag of the POKEMON franchise of $39.99 once POKEMON STARS releases on the Nintendo Switch. Instead of the Nintendo Switch Game Price of $60.00 by making two versions of the game.

Follow @megapokemonxy for more Pokémon STARS Details

The Steam Dichotomy

The dysfunctional thinking between what developers have and what they think they want

Valve announced that Steam Greenlight was no more, and then Steam Direct became news everywhere. Not much has been said yet, other than Steam Direct will be about as much as Steam Greenlight was – and this has sparked debate among indie developers. Some show support with the initiative, whereas others are disappointed in the low fee and the consequences they assume from it.

Thinking less competition will provide for better opportunities for sales is absurd. You can try standing on a street downtown selling candy by yourself, but the fact that you would be the only kid diung anything doesn’t mean that anyone would buy from you. Ideally, having a market involves the concept of multiple variables efficiently coexisting, without it the concept of a market doesn’t exist. Without company diversity operating in the same supply and demand, indie developers would be nothing but quirky kids doing creative things that belong nowhere in the economic spectrum. Having a healthy market indicates more to work with, there are more games but also gamers too; having more people to perceive as potential users is a positive thing.

Without the data a market provides, companies like Steam would not exist. There would not be enough of a user base to build up a distribution platform that would operate as an important hub in the industry – you would be stuck working on your own Wordpress website, with your GoDaddy / Shopify store.  I sure remember those days, way before even social media existed. To assume a company should do less to serve third-party expectations is flawed, a company works for itself, even if it is a hub that provides a service to many other smaller companies and indie studios.

 The thing indie developers understand as a problem is the denial to accept the bar gets raised every single time there is a surplus of content. More games dictate gamers will have choices, providing new bars for what is value and price, including options for costs and quality. When more is asked of you, you shouldn’t complain about giving less – learn more instead; there is so much to work with, having fewer people playing games won’t dictate your success, but having more venues to reach out to more.

There is not much to discuss on Steam Direct so far, we need information on how content will be curated now, and what this new platform will offer for indie development. For now, all we can do is revise the concepts of cost and price, and quality and value – all sound similar, yet they are not. Not long ago, I wrote about the difference of cost and price, this time I want to introduce quality and contrast it with the concept of value, all relevant to the future of your games.

Value is something that becomes defined by the user, if it is something that serves a purpose for any specific use, or that it becomes something that resonates in sentiment. Quality relies entirely on the company, and sometimes it might even set the bar for cost and performance. Also, while important, users might buy not because it has quality but they will not buy it in the absence of quality, reason why quality and value need of each other.

Maybe your game presents the most refreshing imaginative creation yet on its genre, but if the game crashes on start, it matters very little how meaningful it is if it’s unplayable. Maybe your game runs perfect, but it is yet again another pointless shooter clone without even a story to it – development should not impair marketing, just as marketing can’t exist without development. Yet, it is often known that developers can market a game for five years and more, or simply just launch without marketing at all – neither scenario is healthy without understanding how variables like quality and value will set the bar for cost and ultimately, price.

Steam is one of many distribution options for digital content, and it is one of the fundamental ones. It widens your options as a publishing platform, but it doesn’t provide success by default. Everything you combine with the concept of cost, quality, value and price will.

Game development production is fundamental: the time you take working on something, the time it takes to promote said something, the money you inject into it. There are so many variables that need time and money, and if you do not have the money then it should take ten times the work and attention. But thinking because you can’t afford it, that it might not be needed, is what makes indie developers fight to be in a new releases listing rather than organize a genuine marketing plan instead. Invest your efforts wisely, don’t be afraid of competition – grow with it.

“Loads of moneeyyyy! Money, money, money ♪ ♫ ♪ ”


Hi, I’d love to make some art for you!

Base prices are shown below. I will show you works-in-progress of the illustration so that you know what you’re getting and if any changes need to be made (up to a total of three revisions). After the third, a charge of $5 will be added to each revision afterwards.

Commissions can be SFW/NSFW; however, NSFW (whether violent or sexual) will be done as a private commissions that will not and cannot be published on any site.

If you would like a simple background to be included in your commission or more than one character, that can be done. There is no set price for either of these due to the amount of variables that go into each. I will be more than willing to discuss these with you and find a comfortable price that works for both of us!

• Sketch ($15) Colored (+ $5)
Sketches include profiles, busts, or full body. Colors are flats with a flat background. Can include multiple characters. No backgrounds.

• Inked ($25)
Inked. No color. Can include multiple characters. Can include simple background.

• Inked + Colored ($35+)Inked. Color is cell shaded with gradients. Can include multiple characters. Can include simple background.

eBook updates:

rerelease of my first book is still in progress. it’s taking too long because of my illness.

there is a ton of bonus content and i also decided to add photos and illustrations which i’m excited about. i am keeping the poems as they were published. there is an added running commentary among other things.

any of you can pm me for a FREE copy when released. i’m grateful people read my work.

some people set eBook prices to $10 while they aspire to be the next Emily Dickinson.

i aspire to stagger in and out of traffic with a cardboard sign while the power lines brace against the breeze. there will be an amazon kindle edition for sale, but the free copy will be just as good and keep all the content.


Visit the City of Music and Endless Rain — Degica Games Releases Symphonic Rain

Publisher: Degica Games
Release Date: June 14, 2017
Platform: Windows
Age Rating: All-Ages
Price: $39.99

KOGADO STUDIO’s musical visual novel, Symphonic Rain, is now available on Steam! Those who grab Symphonic Rain now before June 21st can get the game for a 15% off discount.

Relevant Links:

Features, via Degica Games:

  • A poignant drama set in the city of endless rain written by Maoto Nishikawa
  • Multiple endings depending on your choices and performance in the musical sections
  • Remastered HD artwork by original character designer/artist, Siro
  • Fleeting, beautiful melodies by singer and songwriter, Ritsuko Okazaki
  • Harmonious fusion of Visual Novel and Music-based gameplay


Rain…the eternal, never-ending rain.

In Piova, the city of music and endless rain, young men and women gather to pursue their dreams of becoming musicians. Chris Vertin is one of these young men, leaving his rural hometown and girlfriend behind to enroll in the Piova Communal School of Music.

Winter has come and it’s been over two years since Chris began studying to become a Fortenist—a master of the magical instrument known as the Fortelle. Graduation is only a few months away, and Chris must perform an original song together with a vocal partner for his final examination. But Chris, feeling unmotivated and listlessly spending his days, has yet to even try to find a partner. His entire world consists of letters he receives from his girlfriend and a 14 centimeter tall musical fairy living in his room.

Let us play the Fortelle in time with the metronome of the rain’s patter. When the sound of Chris’s playing harmonizes with the voice of the musical magic fairy who knows what might happen?


‘’Which African writers have influenced you besides Chinua Achebe?’’

I pondered this question for a while before I thought of making a list of  writers who equally influenced my hunger for African history… my history. After scouring my memory and the internet, I have made my list of favourite East African Literary figures/Writers. Most of these novels, plays and Poetry are reminiscent of my high school literature curriculum. Others are just out of curiosity for fellow East African literary voices that I want to hear. I have compiled a list of authors from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi hoping that you share the same hunger to read as I do. This list does not even attempt to exhaust the East African writers that you may know of but hey, it is a start.

1. Song of Ocol ; a poem that expresses Ocol’s, (an African man) disgust for African ways and the destructive force of his self-hatred - Okot P’Bitek (Uganda)

2. Song of Lawino: a poem dealing with the tribulations of a rural African wife whose husband has taken up urban life and wishes everything to be westernised - Okot P’Bitek (Uganda)

3.The Burdens: a play that reflects the socio-political atmosphere in Uganda post independence -  Ruganda John (Uganda)

4. The River Between (1965): tells a story about the struggle of a young leader ‘Waiyaki’ to unite the two villages of Kameno and Makuyu through sacrifice and pain - Ngugi Wa Thiongo’o (Kenya)

5. Admiring Silence: A man escapes from his native Zanzibar to England. His furtive departure makes it unlikely that he will ever return, but he and his family agree a bright future lies ahead. He meets an English woman and they build a life together  - Abdulrazak Gurnah (Tanzania)

6. Two in One; a barren lady kidnaps three babies but the scam falls through a few decades after because one of the children is recognized later in life - Mwangi Gicheru (Kenya)

7. The promised Land: A young farmer and his wife who have migrated to Tanzania from Kenya become embroiled in issues of personal jealousy and materialism, and a melodramatic tale of tribal hatreds ensues.  - Grace Ogot (Kenya)

8. The Floods - Ruganda John (Uganda)

9. Paradise: Is a tragic love story about an African boy coming of age and a tale of the corruption of traditional African patterns by European colonialism  - Abdulrazak Gurnah (Tanzania)

10. I will Marry When I want (1977) : A peasant farmer and his wife are tricked into mortgaging their home and plot of land to finance a ‘’proper Christian Wedding.’’ This was a very powerful play of that time which according to some historians, attributed to Ngugi’s detention without trial. - Ngugi Wa Thiongo’o (Kenya)

11. The Ethnic Trap/Le Piege ethnique (1999): A study of ethnic polemics  - Benjamin Sehene (Rwanda)

12. Across The Bridge (1979): When Kihuthu’s daughter Caroline falls in love with Chuma and becomes pregnant with his child, she disgraces her family, who feel especially humiliated by Chuma’s lowly status as a mere houseboy. -    Mwangi Gicheru (Kenya)

13. Weep Not Child; Portrays the Mau Mau uprising and bewildering dispossession of ancestral land from the Natives.This book was the first novel to be published by an East African in 1964. He wrote this book when he was still a student at Makerere University -Ngugi Wa Thiongo’o

14. La Fue Sous La Soutane/Fire Under the Cassock (2005): a historical novel focusing on the true story of a Hutu Catholic Priest, Father Stanislas, who offered protection to Tutsi refugees in his church before sexually exploiting the women and participating in massacres . - Benjamin Sehene (Rwanda)

15. The Strange Bride (1983) an interpretation of a Luo myth - **Grace Ogot (Kenya)

16. White Teeth/Lak Tar - Tells the struggles of a poor young man, Okeca Ladwong who is forced to leave his village to find bride price that will enable him to get married. - Okot P’ Bitek (Uganda)

17. Silent Empowerment Of The Compatriots: is a powerful historical novel which forces us to re- think the whole notion of independence and the construction of a new society. - Gabriel Ruhumbika (Tanzania)

18. The Graduate: a novel set in post independent Kenya tackling the theme of corruption. How can the new government reorganize the system to benefit its own citizens?  - Grace Ogot (Kenya)

** Grace Ogot was the first female East African to be published.

19: Princess de Rugo - an autobiography of Esther Kamatari who fled to exile in Paris after the assassination of her father.- Esther Kamatari (Burundi)

Beowulf - Anonymous | Poetry |395547822

Genre: Poetry
Price: Get
Publish Date: January 1, 1909

Beowulf is the conventional title of an Old English epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, the oldest surviving epic poem of Old English and thus commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature, and also arguably the earliest vernacular English literature.

Imagine Carol and Therese shopping together and looking at lingerie and Therese finds something nice but puts it down as soon as she sees the price and Carol saw and it broke her heart
Later that night they’re eating dinner and Carol asks, “What did you think of that red garter set at the store?”
And Therese is all embarrassed because she knows money isn’t an issue for Carol so she just kinda shrugs and says “It was nice I suppose but I didn’t particularly need it.”
And Carol slides a package across the table
“But I’d particularly like to see you in it.”
She winks and just walks off towards the bedroom and Therese is just left sitting there surprised and oddly turned on.
UPDATE: This is now a complete fic! Published at


Dear Readers and Friends,

finally, encouraged by all of your support and nice words, I’m excited to share some concrete informations to my first soon to be published book. I want to thank each and everyone of you for being so patient and sharing your excitement - you are what makes writing worth.

Title: Sunblind

Release Date: Early August 2016

Price: 8€ online download via payhip | there’s also the option of printed copies, they would cost 18€ as I will order them myself if anyone’s interested and send them via post - it’s a longer process and more time consuming as it may take up to three weeks until you have your copy. Shipping costs are already included in the price. If anyone is already interested in printed copies just send an ask or an email to


“Do you want to set the world on fire tonight?”

Sunblind is an anthology about the love of two boys on the verge of finding themselves. An old legend with a modern twist told through the eyes of both, sometimes alternating, and a collection of voicemails, texts, post-its and notes. 

The book features over 70 pieces and is divided into three parts which piece together the life of Icarus and Apollo, and their story which struggles for love, dependency, fear and more.

The story begins about 12 years ago, when my mom would try to make me wear all the pretty dresses. Every time she would put one on me, I would scream, kick, cry. I would do everything except take it off (but that’s only because I didn’t know how.) I wanted to wear the overalls and mud boots that I had. I wanted to wear a tshirt, not a ruffled dress. I wanted to go out and play in the mud, get dirty, not stay inside and play with Barbies.

Fast forward to about 4 years ago. In gym we were split into boys and girls, and the girls had the big gym because the guys were always outside. We would be inside jumping rope or hula hooping, and the guys would be outside learning how to play football. I asked my coach several times if I could go play, and her exact words were “no honey, you’re a girl. And girls don’t play football. You would get all dirty, you’d get all sweaty, you might get hurt.”
Apparently, because I sprouted breasts, I was more fragile, and seen as inferior. Most of my friends spent all their time talking about football, and typically excluded us from the conversation because I “didn’t know about football, just because I was a girl”. I quieted down at the lunch table, and eventually stopped talking to my only friends because our “parts” were different, which apparently means that we are completely different people.

Two years ago, I get my first girlfriend. I would cry to her at least once a week that I wasn’t fitting in. I didn’t like what any of the other girls liked, but I wasn’t a guy so I’d never fit in. She’s the one that opened my eyes, she told me that there were more than two genders, which is when I realized who I was. I am an individual. I don’t strictly fit into any gender, but I’m still valid. I’m gender fluid, but prefer non-binary or male pronouns. She accepted me, and I’m hoping that eventually it won’t be something that I have to explain. I’m hoping that eventually I won’t have to correct people who use the incorrect pronouns 97 times per day. 

Sadly, this isn’t going to be easy, or cheap. I want to start small, with binders and the likes, but I just don’t have time for a job. My life is overrun by debate tournaments every weekend, and practice every day, my summer is taken over by marching band and debate camps. 

So, here’s my idea: pride beanies. I knit and crochet, and figured that I could put that to use. For example, if you messaged me saying that you wanted an asexual pride beanie, I could crochet a beanie that is black, gray, white and purple. Or a gay pride beanie would be red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. I can do any combination of colors, but I thought that it would be appropriate to spread LGBT+ pride. Included in the package (probably an envelope, so shipping is free) will be a beanie of your choice that was hand knitted or crocheted by yours truly, and a hand written thank you note. I know it’s not much but I promise it means a lot to me.  

There’s no set price (as long as it’s not free, afterall, I’m trying to raise funding.) Just send me an ask (I won’t publish it), a fanmail, or a kik message at hellaboveheavenbelow.

Help out a little trans boy, buy a beanie (or you could just donate???). 

I know that money is tight, but reblogs are free.

Thanks for reading this (I didn’t think it would be this long, it’s like a novel, geez)


Consider this a prologue. This is the Queen Bee AU, in which Rhys is the CEO of Atlas and Jack gets tangled up with him in some… interesting ways. It’s a/b/o again but the focus is much more on how a sexually charged rivalry between Jack and a fairly ruthless Rhys would work out. Because I can’t stop writing Slytherin Rhys apparently.

One of the most important parts of the AU is how Rhys runs Atlas, which is there the informal name of the AU comes from. After talking to ledgem, I decided to write a little something to set the stage for that. The entire fic will not be in this storytelling style, don’t worry, but here is an in-universe interview with Rhys.

The Weight of the World on his Shoulders: An interview with Atlas CEO Rhys Sommerset
by Yvette Lacroix

Keep reading



To avoid posts about it: Blacklist the tag “NRS Auction”

Here’s the deal: I’m going to auction these as a set here on Tumblr; I’ll take bids as Asks.  First person to send in a bid sets the flat price (anything from ten dollars to a hundred, whatever you are comfortable paying), and we’ll go from there.  I’ll publish the highest bids as they come in (with the name/icon censored if preferred).  Anonymous bids will be invalid.  The tag will be “NRS Auction”, so that’s where you ought to go to check the status of the bidding.

If you win, I’ll notify you, talk to you about what else you will be getting (see below), and get your address for shipping.  Shipping and handling is $6.

Here’s the deadline: 1/1/2016, 12 (noon) EST (Pretty easy to remember, right?)

What you’ll be getting: These sketchbooks contain all of the comic No Red Sweaters, a Homestuck AU story I freehanded in blue pen from…2014 to 2015, I think.  Though I’d prefer they go to someone who really enjoyed the comic, they do contain other things!

Other things: To-do lists, thumbnails (for single images, lyricstucks in a variety of fandoms, and comic pages), sketches for various non-Homestuck fandoms (ATLA, Discworld, Sinbad, Harry Potter, TMNT), original work (Snow in Summer, Dead Metal), sketches for some of my Homestuck stories (It Burns Beyond the Grave, The Devil’s Golf Course, Hellgod Girl, Before I Sleep), random characters without stories to go with them, art advice, life drawing and other exercises, and a little poetry.

Things I will remove before sending if you prefer: Vent art, visual notes from the Bible study I attended for a little while at college.  That’s it, though.  I want to give these to someone who’s okay with the content in the comics included and won’t tear out pages.  That would be upsetting for everyone concerned.

What else you’ll be getting: Seven to fifteen pages of sketchbook three dedicated to sketchdumps/comics on the topic of your choice (preferably something I’m familiar with!).  

You don’t have to buy the sketchbooks to see NRS, the AU comics, or most of the things listed above.  They’re all on my blog.

anonymous asked:

Would the industry benefit from charging $70/$80 for mainstream games?

We already do, it’s called the “Collector’s Edition”.

Maybe you meant a base price of $70/80, instead of the current base price of $60. I’m honestly not too sure why the industry has kept the price at $60, when we’ve had a reasonably steady inflation rate over the past thirty years. To put that into perspective, we’ll look at the cost of things in 1985 with then-cutting-edge technology, and then use the Consumer Price Index inflation calculator to see what the equivalent would be in 2015.

The NES launched in 1984, and each set sold for approximately $99 USD. A new game would typically sell for $49 USD. Using the CPI inflation calculator, this was the equivalent purchasing power of $219.27 for the NES console, and $108.53 per game today. What this means is that each game purchased today earns relatively less for the publisher than it did back in 1985. The way that the publishers have worked to cope with this is by drastically increasing the number of game sales. However, we can’t keep doing that - many games are just about hitting their saturation point, and growth isn’t unlimited.

When it comes to buying things, I think most game-buyers have a high-end price threshold they are far less willing to cross without a perceived increase in value. If publishers started raising prices to match inflation without changing the contents of the game package, especially after selling them at $60 for so long, players would probably riot. Instead, the publishers are raising prices by packaging in small extras that actually cost very little to develop and can be mass-produced, but can be used to (mentally) justify pushing the price up. A cloth map, a soundtrack CD, some alternate art, and a cheap plastic statue might only cost a couple of quarters to manufacture in Asia somewhere, and their inclusion can provide enough perceived additional value that some players are willing to pay an additional $10-20 for the game.

Table of Contents

Someone asked for a table of contents for the book, Dick Grayson, Boy Wonder: Scholars and Creators on 75 Years of Robin, Nightwing and Batman.

Here you go. I wasn’t sure if the authors wanted their real names splashed across the internet, so this is the ToC without author names. Some of the authors are not on Tumblr, but I encourage those who are to claim their work using their Tumblr names.

I know that the book is, sadly, a bit expensive ($40). My apologies, but we do not set the price. The publisher did that. And while the book does not cover every important aspect of Dick’s history and character (something one book could never do anyway), it is a fairly hefty tome. The book contains extensive endnotes and bibliography, as well as an index. I also like to think you are getting your money’s worth: the book clocks in at a little over 110,000 words (not including the bibliography and index!) - well over 400 pages of content in MS Word.

Table of Contents

Introducing the Sensational Character Find of 1940

Robin The Boy Wonder

-Success in Stasis: Dick Grayson’s Thirty Years as a Boy Wonder
-Outlining the Future Robin: the Seventies in the Batman Family
-Fashioning Himself a Hero:  Robin’s Costume and Its Role in Shaping His Identity
-The Gray(son) Area: Performing Robin The Right Way

The Original Dynamic Duo: Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne

-The Child is Father to the (Bat)Man: The Inverted Parent-Child Dynamic of DC Comics’ Dynamic Duo
-Dick Grayson and the Literary Tradition of Heroic Friendship
-“The Loyal Heart”: Homosocial Bonding and Homoerotic Subtext Between Batman and Robin, 1939-1943

Nightwing and Beyond: Dick Grayson Grows Up

-Boy Wonder to Man Wonder: Dick Grayson’s Transition to Nightwing and the Bildungsroman
-Building Character: The Writers Who Shaped Dick Grayson’s Personality
-The Heart and Soul: Dick Grayson as the Center of the DC Universe
-The New 52 (2011-present)
-Grayson, Sex, and Feminism

Ties that Bind: Relationships with Family and Friends

-Mother Alfred: The Influence of Dick Grayson’s “Other Parent”
-Big Brother Dick
-Dick and Damian: The Second Batman and His Robin
-Titans Together
-Darkly Deconstructing the Dynamic Duo: Dick Grayson in Frank Miller

Interviews and Closing

-Interview with Dennis O’Neil
-Interview with Marv Wolfman
-Interview with Chuck Dixon
-Grayson on Grayson
-Interview with Kyle Higgins
-Dick Grayson: Becoming a Man

some-pie  asked:

Why do manga translated to English cost so much more, compared to original Japanese version?

There are lots of reasons, including logistics and localization costs. However, the biggest reasons have to do with differences between the U.S. and Japanese book markets. First of all, the Japanese manga market is many times the size of the U.S. market, so they can set prices lower and be sure they’ll make their money back. Here, we have to set prices higher or we may not break even on a book. Also, in Japan, the publisher sets the price, and has a lot more control over whether a store stocks the book. The store’s margin is lower, and they usually are not able to discount a book without the publisher’s permission. In the U.S., the stores have complete control over whether to stock a book, and they demand a much higher wholesale discount from the publisher. They are also able to offer discounts to consumers at will. Basically, it’s deceptive to compare the US MSRP to the Japanese MSRP. You should really be comparing the Japanese price to the lowest retail price you can find in the US. When Amazon puts a deep discount on our books, for example, then their prices are a lot closer to Japanese prices.

I think the phandom is blowing this way out of proportion to be honest; yes I can see how some of you might be disappointed that DP are “hopping on the bandwagon” by writing a book; and yeah- I do agree that they’re going with the trend a bit. But; I’m excited- even from the trailer you can tell they worked hard on it for us. DP have gave us videos, radio shows, weekly livestreams, countless live events, a gaming channel, Dan’s anti-bullying campaign and not to mention that they both interact with us on a daily basis more than most YTubers. 
So why; not even an hour after them announcing a book that must’ve taken months to write- alongside a tour which is a ridiculous amount of work to set up; are we throwing it back in their faces like children?

“The prices are too high!” Dan and Phil cannot do this independently,  they need to hire people to plan this entire tour out and it is fucking expensive, chances are that if they hired someone to plan it- they had no choice in the price at all. This is the same system for band meet & greets- don’t blame Dan and Phil.

“The book is almost £20!” Yet again, Dan and Phil can hardly mass-publish a book at the speed that we’re all going to buy it independently. The company sets the price- not the boys.

The trailer has been up barely an hour and people are already being unnecessarily rude about something that Dan and Phil have clearly worked their asses on and I don’t like it. I am skeptical about the book and the bandwagon- but DP are doing a Liveshow on Sunday and we should have the maturity to wait until then (when they discuss it and answer questions) before making a final decision on this. Especially taking into account that we literally got no information besides prices and tour dates; how are you going to justify being against DP’s hard work when you know nothing about it?

I personally am proud of Dan and Phil for this, and I am very excited to hear about what they have to say about it on Sunday. 

why pirating otome games hurts

You’re probably sitting there thinking oh my gawd, there she goes again, we already know that pirating otome games is bad and we shouldn’t do it (at least, I hope you know that it’s bad to pirate them).

After receiving two asks and yet another comment on my wordpress blog asking for videos of otome game playthroughs, I wondered why people can’t seem to understand the message I’ve been trying so hard to get across. It isn’t just me either; plenty of people have written against the piracy of otome games. But people continue to ask for pirated access to them. Quite honestly, it’s frustrating.

I’ve realized that there’s focus on the “it’s bad” part and there’s not enough explanation on the “why”. So here I am, writing this post when I could be out there romancing butlers and princes and hot salarymen and CEOs instead.

I’ll be focusing on two companies in this post: Voltage Inc. and Otomate/Idea Factory. Why? Because I categorize otome games into three categories: mobile, handheld/console, and PC. The overseas PC market for otome games is mostly overtaken by indie developers and none of them have a clear dominance in the market. Voltage is a leader (not the only one) in the mobile market and Otomate is the only company with measurable success in the console/handhelds market.

1. Companies have to make profit.

Let’s start with the basics. Who develops these games? Companies. If you want to use the correct term, it’d be corporations. Voltage and Otomate/IF are both incorporated entities, which means they were founded with the goal of business purposes. What do businesses do? (psst, the answer is make money)

2. Localizing/Translating a visual novel costs a lot of money.

Developing a game costs a lot of money. I won’t say a number since it varies depending on the game, but there are a lot of people who go into the production of a game developed by a big company (director, scenario writers, scripterwriters, line-art artists, CG colorists, background artists, CG supervisor, sound director, composers, seiyuu/voice actors, animators, programmers, debuggers, production manager, etc). Keep in mind this is only the developing team. I haven’t included the PR team, marketing, customer service, HR, and many others.

Also keep in mind that certain directors, scenario writers, artists, and seiyuu can come with a huge price tag if they’re successful and in demand. Consumers will buy games if the story is written by a writer they like, the art is done by an artist they like, or a character is voiced by a seiyuu they like. This allows these people to charge a “premium” price for their services because they can affect how well a game sells by a considerable amount.

A game won’t get translated unless it’s made enough revenue to break even and earn profit in Japan. Which means that they’ve made enough money to pay all the people above and make extra money off it (aka profit). I keep mentioning profit and you’re probably wondering why it’s so important; I’ll explain its importance later.

Translating a game has different costs. They have to hire a director, translators, scriptwriters, programmers, debuggers, production manager, etc. Because the game has already been developed, less people are needed, but even then it’s not a small number.

I read a post somewhere posted by someone who used to translate for Voltage that it cost them around $10,000 just to translate the prologue and main stories alone (it might have been a season, I’m not sure. If someone could find that post for me it’d be much appreciated). This is number very likely the money paid to the translators only. It probably costs Otomate/IF a lot more to translate theirs since their games are longer and usually include side stories. Let’s say Otomate pays ~$20,000 for their translators.

3. Selling a game is a lot more than just its development and translation.

Money is spent on legal costs for copyright. Offices aren’t free; they have to be rented (and they cost a lot). There’s the PR team, marketing team, customer service team, HR team, and a lot of other teams that are included in the development of a game and the everyday operations of a company.

A lot of money is spent on marketing. I can’t give a number since this also depends on the game (it’ll go past $1 million for some games), but its a large cost and very likely costs even more than the localization itself. A game will do well or do poorly based on how its marketed. This is especially true for otome games because…

4. Otome games target an extremely niche market.

What does this mean? It means that there’s a small, specific group of people that these products can be sold to. It’s easy to misunderstand and think that there’s a lot of people who like otome games since they’ve been getting a larger presence here on tumblr. 

Voltage has it easier since they’re in the mobile market. Smartphones have become ubiquitous in today’s society; because of that, they already have more room to work with in terms of target audience. While the subset they target is women in their 30s (at least, in Japan), technically, anyone with a smartphone could become a possible consumer. However, not everyone is interested in reading a romance in first person from a woman’s point of view.

Otomate released Amnesia on Steam and both Amensia and Hakuoki on mobile. It’s most likely because they’re trying to find a larger target audience they can sell to. Vita sales haven’t been doing well overseas, limiting the people who have a reason to buy their products (Otomate’s games are mostly developed for the Vita). However, it’s a pretty good bet that they’re not going to release games for Steam anymore due to the piracy fiasco that ensued less than a week after Amnesia’s Steam release.

5. The otome game market is extremely competitive

A small target audience with lots of competitors indicates market competitiveness, which in turn indicates low profitability. Why? Because you have to either differentiate your product or fight with low prices.

Otomate doesn’t have any competitors in the consoles/handheld market (so far) but they have to compete with the growing number of otome games being released for mobile. If someone just got into otome games and didn’t own a Vita, there’s no reason for them to buy a Vita when they can easily play otome games on their phone. However, its indisputable that Otomate is the leading company for consoles/handhelds; I think they’re trying to use this to their advantage. They’re choosing which games to localize extremely carefully to grow their fanbase and secure more sales in the future. The mobile phone releases of Hakuoki and Amnesia were most likely done to increase sales, but also to give consumers a taste of their products. If they liked them, they can invest in a Vita and play Code:Realize, Norn9, and future releases. In a way, they’re differentiating their products as more “serious” games by their choice of platform (by “serious” I mean better developed, whether its the game itself, the characters, or the plot).

Voltage has a plethora of competitors. NTT Solmare, D3 Publisher, Cybird, Genius, Koyonplete, Arithmetic, indie developers, and more that I may not know of. However, they can’t raise their prices because they’re very well aware that people already think their prices are too high. They set the standard at $3.99 USD and keep it there. Their main strategy seems to be focused on quality, art style, and brand name. Game quality is factored into development and not localization so I won’t be discussing it here.

6. The math part

Time for everyone’s favorite subject!

Let’s add up the total cost it took for Voltage to localize a game. Let’s say the project lasted 4 weeks. They hired 2 translators, 2 scriptwriters, 2 programmers, a director, and a production manager. Translators worked in weeks 1 and 2, scriptwriters worked in weeks 2 and 3, and programmers worked in weeks 3 and 4. The director and production manager worked all 4 weeks.

With the exception of the translators (who are paid by word) and the director, I’ll be using average salaries for the other positions. For the director, I’ll be using the average entry-level salary since the overall average is skewed too much due to high profilers.

translation: $10,000
2 scriptwriters working ~2 weeks: $5,000
2 programmers working ~2 weeks: $6,000
director working ~4 weeks: $4,000
production manager working ~4 weeks: $5,000

Total cost of localization team: ~$30,000

If we were to go off sales of main stories only (which are ~$4)

$30,000 / $4 = 7,500 main stories

Voltage has to sell 7,500 main stories to break even on localizing a game.

Now let’s add up the costs for Otomate localizing a game. 

Because the games are longer in content, let’s say the localization project for around 8 weeks. They hired 3 translators, 3 scriptwriters, 3 programmers, a director and a production manager. Translators worked weeks 1 to 3, scriptwriters worked weeks 3 to 6, and programmers worked weeks 5 and 8 . The director and production manager worked all 8 weeks.

translation: $20,000
3 scriptwriters working for ~4 weeks: $15,000
3 programmers working for ~4 weeks: $18,000
director working ~8 weeks: $8,500
production manager working ~8 weeks: $10,000

Total cost of localization team: ~$71,500

A copy of Norn9 sold for ~$40 on Amazon or GameStop. Distributors usually get around 50% of the selling price, which means that for every copy of Norn9 that got sold, Otomate made $20. 

$71,500 / $20 = 3,575 copies

Otomate has to sell 3,575 copies of Norn9 to break even on localizing it.

Keep in mind that this isn’t taking into consideration the marketing and advertising for either situations.

7. So what about that oh-so-important profit?

Both Voltage and Otomate have to push money into localizing these games before they can sell them. Guess where that money comes from?

Some of it comes from investors, but a lot of it comes from profit from previous projects. The profit Otomate makes from Amnesia, Code:Realize, and Norn9 are most likely going to go towards whatever games they choose to localize next year. The profit Voltage gets from Butler Until Midnight is most likely going to go towards their future releases for the game and their next game localization. Profit is important because it allows a company to continue functioning and expand.

Companies also use revenue as a means to judge whether a product has sold well or not. They’ll have a set goal they want to reach and if the goal is met or exceeded, the product is considered a success. High profit indicates high interest; low profit or not breaking even means it’s not worth investing in.

Are these numbers accurate? Who knows. I’m basing this off my personal experience in coding and projects; I haven’t worked on as large-scale projects, but if the localization was the only thing the team was working on, it seems reasonable to me. You also have to take into consideration that all the people in the positions I mentioned could have been freelanced or have regular positions in these companies. They’re most likely working on other projects while working on this one and the company might offer different rates for those. (this is my disclaimer: these numbers are purely from research and some personal experience).

To the people who say pirating doesn’t hurt anyone: it does. Here are the facts and numbers. They may not be perfect, but if you want to show me numbers that say pirating isn’t going to hurt the otome game market, go ahead. Do your own research and work it out.

I hope this helped you gain a better understanding as to why pirating hurts.

tl;dr : Don’t be an asshat and ruin things for fans who want more localizations