Monday, August 2, 2010

New Poll: The Post About Extras!

No, your eyes do not deceive you. Those individuals are indeed Yoda and Darth Vader of Star Wars making cameos in Soul Calibur IV.

Now, you're probably wondering why on earth I'm opening this post with a laughably stupid screenshot from a fighting game. Darth Vader and Yoda were included as extra characters to the game depending on which version you bought. (Yoda for the 360, Vader for the PS3). In that way, they were marketed as incentives to buy both versions. (Stupid incentives, but what can you do?) You want both the characters? Get both the versions! This tactic was used for Soul Calibur II as well, where popular characters from other franchises were added to the line-up based on which version you bought. (Link was on the Gamecube version! Lucky devils!)

So there's a new poll up asking about what extras you as players would pay for when it came to Bishojo Games/ Visual Novels. I'll go through each option to break it down:

Adult Content: Pretty obvious. Do you wantz the pr0nz? In all seriousness, paying for adult content isn't completely out of the question. I know some people who don't like adult content in their games and some who play strictly FOR the adult content. In that case, having the option is a good one. Not to mention that producing adult content requires more time and resources and thus one could arguably justify charging a couple of bucks for it. (To those over 18 of course).

Extended Non-Adult Content: What about paying for extra scenes? An extended "+" version of the game? How'd you like to pay a few extra dollars to see an extended version of a movie? See the "other side of the story" perhaps? Maybe a new protagonist?

Fandiscs/Side Stories: This one isn't rare in Japan at all. You've played the game, you've fallen in love with the characters - you just wish there was more out there starring them! Often, Bishojo games will get spin-offs called "fandiscs". They might have extra stories, more capturable characters, etc. But they're stand-alones, that is, not tacked on to the original game.

Extended Bonus Content: Including things like an art gallery, interviews with the cast and crew, creator commentary, bloopers... Would you pay for the "behind the scenes" look?

I wouldn't pay for extras: Do you just expect the extras to be included in the game? Do you not really care about extra stuff at all?

Extras are unfair and lame: Or do you think that extra pay-for-play content is lame? Even if the original product is free? Or does that make it worse? (Getting you hooked on a free product, then asking you to pay for more fun stuff concerning it (god I make this sound like a drug-ring O_o;;)).

The reason I'm asking this is because I'm dedicated to making MG Studios a freeware studio (at least the first few titles) in order to spread the love for Bishojo/Otome gaming to as many people as I can. However, hosting a website and games requires funds, and so, one has to think of creative ways to keep oneself afloat.

So what do you guys think? Which of these appeals? (You can pick more than one). And if any of them do, how much would you be willing to pay for them?

Thanks guys! Poll is on the main page, on the right, and closes in ten days!


  1. I understand paying for extra content, but I must be honest: if the story works on its own, the sex scenes are at risk of feeling a bit tacked on... and if the story doesn't work without them... I'd rather pay for the game beforehand, than having to pay for "additional content" that makes my game complete.

    On the other hand, I'm not so interested in sex scenes in themselves - pornography doesn't do much for me. If it adds to the characters' stories, I like it; if it adds to their characterisation, I like it; if it's there to make me aroused... not so interested.

    As for art galleries and such; I'm usually interested only if the game itself is of such high quality that it makes me wonder how they did this or that but - being brutally honest - I've not seen such levels of quality even in the commercial EVNs published so far, so it doesn't seem so likely to me that anything of such quality will rise any time soon.

    On the other hand, I've always wondered why artists don't make videos of them drawing while talking about the art of the game, or why not show their sketches and work process. I'd be interested in the equivalent of the DVD (which I bought) "Chaos and evolutions", just from a VN artist point of view.
    For even a shorter version of that, I'd be willing to dish a tenner or so, but only if I already wanted to support the creators.

    Fandiscs are obviously my preferred option (story!), and you could include smaller bits from the other options as well (art gallery, a video and a short interview to the creators with tips on how to complete VN), rather than just make it a "story extension".

    That said, I also donate to free-ware programs, if I have some spare cash, and I'd do the same for a free-ware game, if I thought it was good enough. Then again, I'm a spoiled and picky person, so it would take some effort.

  2. It all really depends on circumstances! (Unhelpful Answer)

    I can see paying for adult content being reasonable if the adult content were actually worth the draw. But... well, the h-scenes in most games are SO AWFUL that I might be more inclined to pay them to go away. And for the most part, I have an imagination, I can invent the details of the characters having sex and have it probably be hotter/more to my tastes than what the addon author would come up with.

    Some people are fixated on naked pictures of their favorite characters, I'm not really, that alone wouldn't lure me in for the pr0ns. Seriously good porn, sure, I'd pay for it, but I highly doubt anyone's going to release good porn by my standards as a game addon.

    ... now, a non-canon addon in which my two favorite characters that never get together in the real game declare their passionate love for each other and snog like crazy in the official art style, that's more like it. :)

    Fandiscs/side stories, it really depends on what they are and if they're something I want...

  3. This reminded me of what PyTom said last night on IRC something to the effect of "don't work in a medium where your audience claims to be poor".

    Essentially, and hardcore anime / VN fandom consists of the very people you expect to never part with their money.

    Donation-ware might work but will never recup your costs. A pay-what-you-want scheme can be recommended, usually for older games, but the massive success of the Humble Indie Bundle will never be replicated, since people are now too used to them (subsequent humble bundles were closer to flops).

    The way I'm approaching this monetization problem is to approach as many 'publishers' (i.e. sites or other indie devs who maintain a platform and are interested in carrying more games) as possible since ultimately I will be using their method... whether direct download, paid membership, etc. It is if I'm rejected by all of them (which should be close to impossible... SOMEBODY ought to be interested, at least!) at which point I start to wonder again how to release something.

    Because once it's out there and the pirated copies circulate better than your own distribution channel? It's a losing proposition at that point.

    I'm hoping to get in touch with people who can port to Xbox live, PSN (PSP), DSiware, or iphone. That way there's a window to recoup costs in the console space before finally setting it free in the PC wilds.

    You might also want to look into Limited Edition physically-printed sets (~100 or less) with keychains, artbooks, and plushies.

    As for actually answering your question... I'd say hold off on the extra content just in case by some miracle a proprietary platform holder wants the game but want to differentiate it from the PC version. For example, Eternal Sonata on the PS3 included 2 extra playable characters, 2 extra bonus dungeons, and a harder battle system. And you probably heard of Patty (Tales of Vesperia PS3). The equivalents for visual novels would be extra love interests and extra scenes.