Hey XSEED, I think you and Falcom should talk about Steam...

I believe Steam's best seller's list is ranked by revenue, too, so keep in mind that with the price ($19.99, but really $17.99 for the pre orders), for it to be ranked where it is (a 3 year old doujin game), is very impressive. Imagine what some of those Falcom games could do, since they're already ready for this.
 
Excellent, I can finally comment on this. (Thanks, GAF admins!) In case it need be said, I'm the dude behind bringing Recettear to Steam and the West.

Anyway, as far as concepts go, I largely agree with the OP. Even though it's tapered somewhat over the years, the PC market in Japan is still home to a number of gems, and the biggest concentration of precious minerals in the entire PC scene is in the hands of Falcom. It's almost criminal that Trail of the Sky isn't available in the West, seeing as how there's a very good argument for that being the best JRPG of the past decade and Japan's answer to Mass Effect (before Mass Effect even came out, no less!)

I can't go into the specifics of Recettear's sales yet (we're under NDA with Steam) but looking at the charts, you guys can probably guess what's going on. I will say this: Valve is now aware that there's a whole market segment out there they haven't been servicing at all, and it's willing to use Steam and buy product. I'm very hopeful that we've propped open a door here - one that will help Japanese devs realize that, with a good game, Steam is a possibility, and that money can be made there; and one that'll help Western digidistros realize that there's money to be made in this segment beyond obscure stuff like J-list.

Like I said in one particular interview - if nobody else had gone for it, we'd be going for Trail of the Sky if Recettear is successful enough to pay us a living wage. The market is, unquestionably, there. All it's waiting for is for someone to bring top-flight content to it, and the floodgates will open. And Falcom's lineup is essentially a river of gold just waiting to be exploited. XSeed has those rights now, and so the lever to the gate is in their hand.

(I'll say this much though, we learned the hard way that you need mouse control for Western gamers. God I shudder at thinking how many sales we lost because people didn't bother to check the controls and couldn't figure it out.)

On that note, though, there's something else that any Falcom game, or any JRPG coming to Western digidistro would need, though: a demo. I can't emphasize this enough, the demo has beyond a shadow of a doubt been our most powerful sales tool thus far. It's turned skeptics into believers right before our eyes more times than I can count. A strong Trail of the Sky demo or similar would have a similar effect on getting people to buy the game - give them enough plot to get them interested, then sell the rest of the game to them. It's worked well for us so far.

Also:

The thing is, I don't think any of us really know for sure why Recettear was successful yet. Maybe it was because of word-of-mouth. Maybe it was featured on a popular website. Maybe there was just a large amount of unmet demand for that type of game. Maybe someone wrote a really convincing positive review. Maybe a large forum dedicated a thread to the game and that spurred people to buy it. Or it could have been a combination of many smaller factors.
To be honest, all of these have to do with exposure - being total industry outsiders with absolutely zero contacts when we started, things like the SA thread were the only ways we had of getting any visibility at all since places like Gamespot, IGN, 1UP and the like adamantly refused to pay any attention to us. Hopefully with a company like XSeed, they have the contacts in place to make the larger media centers cover the game and care a little bit, thus giving any Falcom game even higher exposure.

I'll tell you this much, though - the demand is there. There's absolutely, positively no question of that. A substantial portion of our current fans seem to be existing RPG fans.
 
Interesting insights, SpaceDrake. Congrats on Recettear btw. :)

There's been some interest expressed by several people in this thread about Xanadu Next. I've never played the game personally, but it does look like a decent candidate for the sort of releases Steam would be more open to now. What do you think about that?
 
SpaceDrake said:
Anyway, as far as concepts go, I largely agree with the OP. Even though it's tapered somewhat over the years, the PC market in Japan is still home to a number of gems, and the biggest concentration of precious minerals in the entire PC scene is in the hands of Falcom. It's almost criminal that Trail of the Sky isn't available in the West, seeing as how there's a very good argument for that being the best JRPG of the past decade and Japan's answer to Mass Effect (before Mass Effect even came out, no less!)
Care to expand on the last point? Never heard of Trails of the Sky before; does it have important dialog choices like in ME ?
 
XSEED is localizing the PSP ports of Trails in the Sky, at least.
Not sure what he means by the Mass Effect comparison, honestly. The games just have a ton of text.
 
duckroll said:
There's been some interest expressed by several people in this thread about Xanadu Next. I've never played the game personally, but it does look like a decent candidate for the sort of releases Steam would be more open to now. What do you think about that?
We still need to see whether Recettear really can allow us to go into business "for real" or not and take stock of what we can reasonably do in the next year, plus I have no idea how extensive the deal between XSeed and Falcom is and whether they're willing to work with anyone else right now. (I'm sort of getting the impression from various sources that Falcom is kind of burned out on Western publishing in general right now, especially after they've had so many missteps and messes with their older titles stretching all the way back to the 80s.)

Xanadu Next does look pretty cool though (if perhaps a hair dated in some respects, but that hasn't stopped us yet :V), so we'll put it on The List, if nothing else.

Prime crotch said:
Care to expand on the last point? Never heard of Trails of the Sky before; does it have important dialog choices like in ME ?
Unless I'm very far off my base... as a matter of fact, yes! Trails of the Sky (or Sora no Kiseki if you want to be Japanese about it) is broken into three chapters (each one nearly a full game in its own right), and saves carry forward between the chapters. Depending on your actions in chapter one, NPCs will react differently in chapter two and whatnot (although you can't affect the real arc of the story in quite the same manner as you can in Mass Effect).

That's just one reason I really want to see it come over, either at our hand or someone else's. It's just too good to not cross the ocean. It deserves to see international sales, and the various digidistro services are a perfect place for the game.
 
SpaceDrake said:
Excellent, I can finally comment on this. (Thanks, GAF admins!) In case it need be said, I'm the dude behind bringing Recettear to Steam and the West.

Anyway, as far as concepts go, I largely agree with the OP. Even though it's tapered somewhat over the years, the PC market in Japan is still home to a number of gems, and the biggest concentration of precious minerals in the entire PC scene is in the hands of Falcom. It's almost criminal that Trail of the Sky isn't available in the West, seeing as how there's a very good argument for that being the best JRPG of the past decade and Japan's answer to Mass Effect (before Mass Effect even came out, no less!)

I can't go into the specifics of Recettear's sales yet (we're under NDA with Steam) but looking at the charts, you guys can probably guess what's going on. I will say this: Valve is now aware that there's a whole market segment out there they haven't been servicing at all, and it's willing to use Steam and buy product. I'm very hopeful that we've propped open a door here - one that will help Japanese devs realize that, with a good game, Steam is a possibility, and that money can be made there; and one that'll help Western digidistros realize that there's money to be made in this segment beyond obscure stuff like J-list.

Like I said in one particular interview - if nobody else had gone for it, we'd be going for Trail of the Sky if Recettear is successful enough to pay us a living wage. The market is, unquestionably, there. All it's waiting for is for someone to bring top-flight content to it, and the floodgates will open. And Falcom's lineup is essentially a river of gold just waiting to be exploited. XSeed has those rights now, and so the lever to the gate is in their hand.

(I'll say this much though, we learned the hard way that you need mouse control for Western gamers. God I shudder at thinking how many sales we lost because people didn't bother to check the controls and couldn't figure it out.)

On that note, though, there's something else that any Falcom game, or any JRPG coming to Western digidistro would need, though: a demo. I can't emphasize this enough, the demo has beyond a shadow of a doubt been our most powerful sales tool thus far. It's turned skeptics into believers right before our eyes more times than I can count. A strong Trail of the Sky demo or similar would have a similar effect on getting people to buy the game - give them enough plot to get them interested, then sell the rest of the game to them. It's worked well for us so far.

Also:



To be honest, all of these have to do with exposure - being total industry outsiders with absolutely zero contacts when we started, things like the SA thread were the only ways we had of getting any visibility at all since places like Gamespot, IGN, 1UP and the like adamantly refused to pay any attention to us. Hopefully with a company like XSeed, they have the contacts in place to make the larger media centers cover the game and care a little bit, thus giving any Falcom game even higher exposure.

I'll tell you this much, though - the demand is there. There's absolutely, positively no question of that. A substantial portion of our current fans seem to be existing RPG fans.
Really great post. Thanks!

And welcome :)
 

Princess Skittles

Prince's's 'Skittle's
Xanadu Next is damn amazing, I've played through it all at least six times.

Really, the only thing it could be dinged for is it's a little short (though, to its advantage, in my opinion).
 
SpaceDrake said:
Unless I'm very far off my base... as a matter of fact, yes! Trails of the Sky (or Sora no Kiseki if you want to be Japanese about it) is broken into three chapters (each one nearly a full game in its own right), and saves carry forward between the chapters. Depending on your actions in chapter one, NPCs will react differently in chapter two and whatnot (although you can't affect the real arc of the story in quite the same manner as you can in Mass Effect).

That's just one reason I really want to see it come over, either at our hand or someone else's. It's just too good to not cross the ocean. It deserves to see international sales, and the various digidistro services are a perfect place for the game.
Ehh. The choices you make in each game aren't incredibly significant going between games. NPC dialog does change, but that's about it. Most of what carries over is stats, levels, inventory, etc.

And XSEED is bringing all three games over on PSP. It's not the same as having the PC versions, but they are at least going to be released in English.
 
So this is a little bit of a necro (although I think I'm okay vis-a-vis the forum guidelines), but it's a necro with purpose, because I can finally start to put some hard numbers to all this talk.

As we've announced in various places, Recettear sold 26,000 copies in four weeks. I hope to post a somewhat more comprehensive breakdown of how things went on my blog soon, but I'll tell you right now that at the very peak of sales during the actual release, between our three distribution partners we were selling a copy of Recettear once every fifteen seconds, for hours at a time. We completely destroyed preorder expectations across the board and in its release week Recettear places in the top four of all three of the best-seller boards for the distributors. We were #4 on Steam, #2 (behind Elemental) on Impulse and #1 for a while on Gamersgate. And even though it's slipped off the charts, the game is still selling, and we haven't even gotten to the holiday season yet.

The English version of Recettear outsold the original Japanese version. I can't say by how much, but I can say it happened. EGS is going to make more money off of this project than off of anything they've ever worked on before, barring unreleased projects like Territoire.

Quite simply, it isn't even a question or a theoretical anymore. The market for Japanese RPGs on the PC is there, and it is almost desperate to be serviced. We've received dozens of posts and emails of thanks for bringing Recettear to PC digidistro, from people who've wanted games like this on their PCs for a long time. This is a market segment that is famished for content, and if you give it quality content, they'll go right for it. I have no doubt that Falcom could make a killing in this market.
 
That's kinda odd, to sell more here than over there, but whatever works for them.

Well, to be fair, Japan lacks decent DD services. The existing ones seem to cater mostly to otaku.

And, of course, it was probably also sold at Comiket when it was released, which is also for otaku :lol
 
Well, Recettear went to retail sale in a lot of Akihabara-based shops after the December 2007 Comiket, so that isn't their only source of sales :V In fact they're doing really well on DLSite's all ages section right now.

Oh, and I did forget one statistic: demo to full game conversions. We have hard data that it's at least 25% and I have a lot of reason to believe it's much closer to 30% or even higher. Strong demos for Ys games or Trails of the Sky would make those games sell like donuts on a fat farm.
 
SpaceDrake said:
The English version of Recettear outsold the original Japanese version. I can't say by how much, but I can say it happened. EGS is going to make more money off of this project than off of anything they've ever worked on before, barring unreleased projects like Territoire.
That's pretty amazing.
 
So, as far as EGS games go, I guess at least Territoire is all but guaranteed in English. That's awesome. I'd most likely buy Chantellise as well, but that one seems a little less certain for some reason.
 
ZoddGutts said:
Good to see you guys are doing well. Now bring on more J-games. Coughs*ZweiiII*Coughs
The real trick with us (or anyone else) doing things like Zwei or Ys Origin is how deep the contract between XSeed and Falcom is. I don't know if it's just for the announced titles or if XSeed is gonna want to attack the entire back-catalog (especially since the grapevine is saying that Ys 7 did quite well). I certainly wouldn't want to muscle in on someone else's "territory", as it were.

But the point remains: there's definitely a market for these sort of games on Western PC digidistro. And if what I've seen is any indication, it's famished for content. High-quality Falcom releases could make a killing in the current market.

charlequin said:
Have you considered just... emailing the guys at XSeed? It might be good to bring this information directly to their attention.
We might be getting in touch with them soon just to touch base and clarify some stuff... although I have it on good authority that they're already well aware of the current situation. ;)