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Another pre-order campaign from SP

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SP doing another pre-order campaign:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/karakara-a-new-visual-novel-by-industry-veterans/x/12793752#/story

Since devs already says the game would be released one way or another, the only reason to put money now is getting the game cheaper (a.k.a. Preorder discount) and earlier and the extra goods (a.k.a. Preorder bonus / First press extras/ limited edition / etc.).
Game is cheap and the girls are SO FUCKING CUTE so go ahead and grab a copy.

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Sounds like crowdfunding is taking the wrong path. At the core, it's supposed to be investments, to support projects that a*appeals to you, to help something see the light of day, which wouldn't happen otherwise. To an erxtend, it could also be used to support already existing project and give them a boost in quality. That was the basing idea behind Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

And now SekaiProjects turns it into a preorder campaign.

They don't tell us anything about what the money we're supposed to give them is gonna be used of ( being open is the best way for a project to gain the trust of backers ), instead there's just a "hey we're gonna bring this VN to the west, support us". If it weren't for the fact that SP is already quite popular (thanks to the project they localized) this campaign would tank. Hard. Which in the end wouldn't matter because it would be released anyway, and with no real for the extra money provided, there's no use for a campaign either.

Like all other SP stuff, i'm just gonna wait for the final release.

 

EDIT : I hope i'm misreading this, but having the 18+ patch as a separate purchase for the same price as the game ? I don't think that's a good buisness practice.

Edited by Dahelziel

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1 hour ago, Dahelziel said:

EDIT : I hope I'm misreading this, but having the 18+ patch as a separate purchase for the same price as the game ? I don't think that's a good buisness practice.

I've been reading this more than once, and for my head I can't understand how this idea that the "NSFW" version must come free has become standard. MangaGamer doesn't support it, JAST doesn't support it, heck, even Sekai project itself doesn't support it (the patch for Nekopara is entirely unofficial and basically pirating). In some VNs like MuvLuv, where NSFW material is so in the minimum I understand putting a patch for free, but most other VNs normally have at least around 10-20% of text in H-scenes, together with art and voices. Should that really be given away, just like that? To me it looks like a favor: they could simply choose the 20$ price for everyone, including the ones that want to ditch around 20% of the game (and normally the part where most special CGs are drawn), but they make a special price for those who don't need it.

In the case of this project, it really seems like a moege with probably a strong component of +18 material, so it makes sense to make different versions, for those who don't care about the ero.

And about the crowdfunding itself, well, I'm ambivalent. One one hand, Indiegogo is leagues better than KS, flexible funding helps a lot for small projects like this, the tiers are decent and the idea fine. On the other, it's true that they're not saying anything about what they'll be doing with the money, which is certainly bad.

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2 hours ago, Marx-93 said:

I've been reading this more than once, and for my head I can't understand how this idea that the "NSFW" version must come free has become standard. MangaGamer doesn't support it, JAST doesn't support it, heck, even Sekai project itself doesn't support it (the patch for Nekopara is entirely unofficial and basically pirating). In some VNs like MuvLuv, where NSFW material is so in the minimum I understand putting a patch for free, but most other VNs normally have at least around 10-20% of text in H-scenes, together with art and voices. Should that really be given away, just like that? To me it looks like a favor: they could simply choose the 20$ price for everyone, including the ones that want to ditch around 20% of the game (and normally the part where most special CGs are drawn), but they make a special price for those who don't need it.

In the case of this project, it really seems like a moege with probably a strong component of +18 material, so it makes sense to make different versions, for those who don't care about the ero.

And about the crowdfunding itself, well, I'm ambivalent. One one hand, Indiegogo is leagues better than KS, flexible funding helps a lot for small projects like this, the tiers are decent and the idea fine. On the other, it's true that they're not saying anything about what they'll be doing with the money, which is certainly bad.

Well, it's more about a preconceived motion of how things should be rather than looking at what companies are actually practicing. All-ages editions of eroge are basically considered mass-market censored editions of the same product. But if you're having to pay more just to remove censorship of your VN, it certainly seems like price-gouging to me.

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Like PulakK said, I have an issue if the original game had 18+ content that was removed at some point as censorship, and they expect someone to pay extra to have that patched back in. If the game was originally all-ages and they added a 18+ version (ie Little Busters -> Ecstasy), then I might consider the extra content worth the extra cost, but it's almost always the other way around. It might be that the lower price for the all-ages version is a discount and the patched 18+ version is the intended full price, but I would never assume that to be the case unless I see the retail price. 

I don't know about this game in particular, but some censorship edits for all-age versions butcher the story by removing plot points, and even if they replace the content, it doesn't always make sense. If the game is made borderline unplayable by censorship, the "optional" patch becomes a necessity, and the company essentially charges you twice for what was once a single product in the first place. 

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6 hours ago, oobie10 said:

Like PulakK said, I have an issue if the original game had 18+ content that was removed at some point as censorship, and they expect someone to pay extra to have that patched back in. If the game was originally all-ages and they added a 18+ version (ie Little Busters -> Ecstasy), then I might consider the extra content worth the extra cost, but it's almost always the other way around. It might be that the lower price for the all-ages version is a discount and the patched 18+ version is the intended full price, but I would never assume that to be the case unless I see the retail price. 

I don't know about this game in particular, but some censorship edits for all-age versions butcher the story by removing plot points, and even if they replace the content, it doesn't always make sense. If the game is made borderline unplayable by censorship, the "optional" patch becomes a necessity, and the company essentially charges you twice for what was once a single product in the first place. 

Well you can. Nekopara vol. 2 on steam is gonna be $9.99 and the patch is going to be $9.99, denpasofts adult full game listing is $19.99 and the full game in Japan is ¥2,000. It all adds up to similar pricing. Same with this game, the price is ¥1,800 which is similar enough to the game plus patch. It's only a small bit more because America love have as many 9s in the price as they can fit for absolutely no reason. Beside when there is 2 different versions even without a patch there is usually a price difference between the all-ages and the adult one.

Though I still don't like Sekai Project use of crowd funders since they use them all the time. Crowd funding is used for start-up groups that need money to get off the ground, SP is a established business which it should be using their existing finances to translate like every other VN translating business around. It just seems like they are just trying to funnel the costs to us so they see more profit (Since that's where all the crowd funding is supposed to be for).

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... But the full version, both in Japan and here is precisely around the 20$, like @Nexus said...

And there's only one version in Japan... so I don't see where you see the controversy? I mean, the full game is 20$, simple as that, and for the guys who don't want +18 they cut the price in half, because they get half the game. It's simple?

And that's leaving the part where this is  a clear stunt to have a price of around 10$ in Steam in order to sell a lot: anything above 10$ is above impulse buy level, but anything below is very easily affected, and you can clearly see it in the Sakura games and Nekopara.

This basically aims to be a less cat-filled more feelsy Nekopara, so they're doing exactly the same thing they did there.

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Well, do you think people already knew the full game was $20 in Japan before you pointed it out? No, most people will see a $10 censored version, and a $20 uncensored version, and naturally they'll conclude they're being price-gouged. 

And besides, it's not like VN publishers use the same pricing standards in Japan as they do for the international markets. If they did, VNs would be even more expensive than AAA gaming titles, which would be marketing suicide.

We've already had the debate about regional pricing and what the "value" of VNs is, but if you're not going to communicate the rationale behind pricing tactics such as these (which SP probably haven't been, seeing as you and @Nexus are the ones defending them here) don't be surprised if your customers feel like you're ripping them off. Most people do not spend their money lightly.

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*Not sure if I just missed it before, but I see that the prices for all 3 versions (English all-ages, English 18+, and Japanese 18+) are indeed listed at the top of that page. (Some of the below, particularly in the first paragraph, does not apply in this particular case, but these are my general feelings on the topic)*

If I was already interested in a particular VN, then I might do the additional research to see what the retail price is. If I'm just browsing, and I see that the 18+ version is more expensive than the all-ages, I'm always going to assume that the 18+ version is a mark-up from the all-ages, not that the all-ages is a discount. They could easily deal with this by saying something like "If you are just interested in the [story/cute girls/game mechanic/etc], and not the ero, then we have this discounted version just for you!" At least this way I won't feel like I'm being ripped off by getting an incomplete product at full price. I don't know about most people, but I would never assume a company that I don't have a certain level of familiarity with isn't trying to maximize its profits by ripping off consumers. 

The most worrying aspect of this, which neither of you dealt with, is whether the unpatched version is coherent as is. Maybe this particular title can cut out the adult content without really harming the product. However, other VNs really depend on that material as part of the plot, and if cut, really takes away from the game in a way that the cost reduction isn't worth it. Maybe they won't ever censor titles that would be butchered in this way, but maybe they will. Who's to say that they won't "censor" a game, people find out that the "censored" version is incomprehensibly bad compared to the "full" version, and they are, in essence, forced to either pay the rest for the patch or throw the game and the "reduced cost" into their virtual garbage dump? I'd like to think they aren't stupid enough to piss off their niche consumers by doing something like this, but you never know. Would people boycott, and give up one of the few legal paths of getting localizations? Or would they resign themselves to this kind of BS happening occasionally to avoid having to depend solely on fan translations again?

Even if the censorship does not affect the product to that level, I still worry about how they would price other titles that have varying amounts and quality of ero content. A lot of older titles (like Kanon) basically threw in those scenes because people thought this type of game needed them to get customers to buy. I'm not paying $10 extra for sub-par H-scenes that add nothing to (in some cases, even take away from) the VN. Is the standard going to be $10 across the board? 50%? Or will they judge each VN on an individual basis? 

Take Muv-Luv, for instance. I certainly wouldn't pay extra for those scenes in Extra or Unlimited, but I feel like certain scenes in Alternative lack the same impact when they are censored, so I would consider whether that additional cost was worth it. However, removing them from the first two parts does have an impact on the plot, though I'm not quite sure how the all-ages version dealt with those points. 

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