The Success of Hentai VNs vs. Non-Hentai VNs

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Could a Non-Hentai visual novel be as successful or more successful than a hentai visual novel?

Yes, as long as the VN wasn't complete crap, it could
28
44%
Yes, but the VN would have to be extremely good plotwise
28
44%
Yes, but it would have to make up for it with fanservice
1
2%
Yes, but it would have to be a legacy from a previous hentai VN
0
No votes
No, people look for hentai in the VNs these days
1
2%
No, <Insert other reason here>
1
2%
My opinion does not fully match up with any of the above
5
8%
 
Total votes: 64

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Orpheus
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The Success of Hentai VNs vs. Non-Hentai VNs

#1 Post by Orpheus » Thu Jun 26, 2008 4:36 pm

Hi, I'm new here, and even though I've been lurking a little bit, I've neglected to touch the search function too much, so please bear with me if what I'm going to say has already been disputed.

As the title suggests, I was just wondering about what people's opinions were on the success of a Non-Hentai visual novels in a market that has a lot of Hentai visual novels. I've looked at games like Tsukihime, Kanon and Fate/Stay Night that had extremely good storylines, but I keep wondering how successful these would have been had they not had pornographic scenes. I know some of these games had hentai content later removed or had/ will have predecessors that will lack hentai content, but I definitely think that a lot of the original success of these novels comes from the pornography aspect. Now that I've been trying to develop my own plot for a VN, I've been wondering whether people will play and enjoy it solely because of the plot regardless of how much pornography is in it. Could a non-hentai VN be as successful as a hentai VN?

EDIT: If this is in the wrong area, please move it. I was a bit insensitive when I decided to post this.
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Re: The Success of Hentai VNs vs. Non-Hentai VNs

#2 Post by sake-bento » Thu Jun 26, 2008 4:51 pm

Well, while a lot of VNs certainly have a heavy H aspect, I think that popularity can still come without it. The series I like to point out the most often is Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, which has an amazing plot and no H scenes at all. Truthfully, there is fanservice (like the Angel Mort uniforms), but the draw of the game was the intriguing mystery. Of course, even saying that, I think it also had a high appeal because there was a lot of violence in it. Another good example of a popular VN without H is CLANNAD, which doesn't have much by the way of fanservice either. Granted, CLANNAD was made by a VN giant, Key, and thus would already have a good deal of popularity, but if it didn't stand on its own in the end, then it wouldn't be popular. There are a lot of things that make a visual novel popular, including art, story, music, etc.

So in short: Yes.

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Re: The Success of Hentai VNs vs. Non-Hentai VNs

#3 Post by Samu-kun » Thu Jun 26, 2008 5:45 pm

If you're planning to release a game here, then it doesn't matter. The vast majority of the projects here have no H content and they have done just fine on their own. In addition, games with H material have generally done just as well, your project will be well off either way. It really just comes down to your decision.

On the Japanese market, obviously the vast majority of visual novels are eroges. :3 If I recall correctly, neither Clannad nor Little Busters sold to Key's expectations, and they were working on adding H scenes to Little Busters last I heard. In general, the only visual novels that don't have any H scenes are the ones on consoles, but that's mostly because neither Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft allow 18+ games on their consoles, so generally only the games that have gained popularity as eroges are released on consoles.

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Re: The Success of Hentai VNs vs. Non-Hentai VNs

#4 Post by Jake » Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:01 pm

I tend to see this sort of question as similar to questions like "can a first-person action game succeed if the main character doesn't shoot people?" or "can a kids' book series also appeal to adult audiences?" - recent examples of which include Portal and the Harry Potter series respectively. Just because something doesn't have the same hook as the majority of other things in its space doesn't mean it can't succeed, just that it's not necessarily so easy.

(And again, as has been suggested on these forums before: games like the Ace Attorney (Phoenix Wright) titles, Cinq's DS adventure titles and several other commercially-successful mainstream games are practically speaking VNs anyway, just with some extra - sometimes minor - gimmick to sell themselves on. And they don't contain any porn at all, really.)
Samu-kun wrote: neither Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft allow 18+ games on their consoles
Point of order, but - Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft don't allow pornographic games on their consoles. They still allow 18+ games, as demonstrated by recent titles like GTA4 or Resident Evil 4.
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Re: The Success of Hentai VNs vs. Non-Hentai VNs

#5 Post by mikey » Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:09 pm

Jake wrote:I tend to see this sort of question as similar to questions like "can a first-person action game succeed if the main character doesn't shoot people?" or "can a kids' book series also appeal to adult audiences?"
Issue closed. VNs are a medium, currently overwhelmingly featuring pornographic content. Such is the situation now, but come another time, and for all we know, the most popular VNs could be slapstick comedies from South Africa. The medium itself is always open, it's what the cultures and history makes of it that makes the difference.

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Re: The Success of Hentai VNs vs. Non-Hentai VNs

#6 Post by Wintermoon » Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:34 pm

I'm not familiar enough with the Japanese market to comment on it.

In the English-speaking market, there are very few commercial successes. The companies that translate Japanese visual novels either rely on other sources of income or they die.

I seem to recall that Fatal Hearts (a non-ero OELVN) was at least somewhat commercially successful. That puts it above 90% of what's out there.

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Re: The Success of Hentai VNs vs. Non-Hentai VNs

#7 Post by Showsni » Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:00 pm

Jake wrote:Point of order, but - Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft don't allow pornographic games on their consoles. They still allow 18+ games, as demonstrated by recent titles like GTA4 or Resident Evil 4.
*Points to BMX XXX*

Well, that was the first example that came to mind. Not that I've ever played it, but since you can unlock videos of strippers, um, stripping, I'd call it pornography. Available on Gamecube, Xbox and PS2! (Though the PS2 verions is censored).

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Re: The Success of Hentai VNs vs. Non-Hentai VNs

#8 Post by LVUER » Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:16 pm

I think Little Buster (from Key) start as All Age version (no H-scenes, although has some suggestive fan-service). And it's quite a hit.

And later, they released the H-version ^_^

Key's previous hit VNs, Clannad and Planetarian don't have any adult/fan-service in it. They are popular despite having no H in it.

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Re: The Success of Hentai VNs vs. Non-Hentai VNs

#9 Post by Mikan » Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:42 pm

I can't say for the success of anything, but when it comes to visual novels, I only play eroge. I can't stand reading things on the monitor because it puts a lot of strain on my eyes. I don't feel the strain so much when it comes to images (assuming they don't remain too bright all the time) but when it comes to staring at a lot of thin lines that make shapes that have a literal meaning.. yeah... I can't do it oO;

I like books though. And choose your own adventure type comic books.
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Re: The Success of Hentai VNs vs. Non-Hentai VNs

#10 Post by F.I.A » Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:50 am

Large amount of games that are sold well in dlsite tend to be hentai games. Still, knowing that, are we going to convert our non-hentai games to attract more attention?
F.I.A wrote:ImageFrom what I gathered, the fact that both Ryukishi-07 and Type-moon get away with that because of the fandom they built elsewhere. Ryukishi-07 is noticed to be participated in quite a few fanwork contests etc, while TYPE-MOON started by selling novels before moving on to Tsukihime.

Just some food of thoughts...
EDIT: Looking back at the games since time like PC98, nearly a 99% of visual novels have hentai contents in them, even in some horror titles like Necromicon. So much you can say it is the blood of visual novels. While these contents can be seen "tacked on", when pulled right, they ended up being an extra selling point for said game. Working up a hentai content that looks good is not an easy feat.

That said, while it is true there are a handful of good non-hentai games out there, we have to accept the fact that they are in a really miniscule amount compared to eroges.
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Re: The Success of Hentai VNs vs. Non-Hentai VNs

#11 Post by Vatina » Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:50 am

Orpheus wrote:I've looked at games like Tsukihime, Kanon and Fate/Stay Night that had extremely good storylines, but I keep wondering how successful these would have been had they not had pornographic scenes.
I know I loved Tsukihime, but I only played it because the english patch let me play it without the ero ;)
Yeah, I'm one of those people who only play games without.... and therefore I also always hope that people won't let "sex sells!" argument persuade them into making erogames if they originally didn't intend to. If that's what you always wanted to do, then go ahead, but don't do it just because of this. Otherwise things would never change, would they?

It looks like some of the bigger companies are giving non-ero games a big chance lately. I mean, Key's two latest games were non-ero. Nitro+'s Chaos;Head is non-ero, and several of Type-Moon's upcoming games are said to be non-ero. They may make x-rated versions of them later, but I think this reversed trend is interesting.

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Re: The Success of Hentai VNs vs. Non-Hentai VNs

#12 Post by Samu-kun » Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:28 am

I honestly doubt anything much will come out of it. If anything, they're probably making the non-ero version now because they know everyone who buys it will also buy the H version at a later date when they release it. Less work, more profit. >:3 The Japanese visual novel market has always been about eroges and I honestly can't see it ever changing. Besides, I don't really see a need to remove sex scenes from games. If anything, they should just be improved so that Samu-kun isn't face palming through them and laughing at how horribly written they are. XD But maybe I'm being unfair to eroges here, since I'm only judging this based on the stuff that I've bought from Peach Princess.

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Re: The Success of Hentai VNs vs. Non-Hentai VNs

#13 Post by mikey » Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:08 am

Here is a thought: Hentai and non-Hentai are NOT polar opposites. Actually, "hentai" is a feature (element) and "non-hentai" is a specification of everything without that feature. So it's not really the "counterpart", so to speak.

Therefore, hentai is a feature much like fantasy, romance, drama, cartoon style or violence. You could ask similarly - why are non-violent games less popular that violent ones? Why are there so few non-fantasy battle card games? Why are non-pornographic websites less popular that pornographic ones? Is rock music more popular than non-rock music? Or, are green gummy bears more popular than non-green ones?

The non-something is in many cases simply too wide a term for this purpose - a division of hentai and non-hentai makes sense as practical information, but it does not help in philosophical and logic-driven discussions - so even though it is intuitive to ask about hentai vs. non-hentai, in the end that relationship formulated in that question (that non-hentai is the opposite of hentai) is wrong.

And if the basic premise is wrong, the whole discussion can't be conclusive. We had a similar discussion about romance vs. non-romance I remember, and in fact this was also a flawed starting point, to assume that you could reasonably make two groups of games based on that and then find a meaningful conclusion as to which was better or whether one was more popular purely because of that one feature. You can have a romantic horror fantasy hentai dating sim and a non-romantic sci-fi educational bishoujo visual novel.
They are not the same, but that doesn't mean they are the opposite.

Sorry for the highlights, I'm not raising my voice, I just wanted to make the point a bit clearer to understand.

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Re: The Success of Hentai VNs vs. Non-Hentai VNs

#14 Post by Vatina » Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:29 am

Samu-kun is probably right - I'm wouldn't be surprised if this is also an easier way to get people to cash out twice, than when they are doing it the other way around (ero -> non-ero), but I still like it because then there may end up being more games I would want to play in the end (and more games I know I can share with others, 'cause that's something I like to do).

And I also agree with mikey. The one game has something the other doesn't have, but they are not opposites. That I prefer one feature over another is just a personal preference thing :P

I guess for the topic at hand I don't really have much more to say than what I did originally - make the game the way you feel it should be done, not how you think people may/may not want it.

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Re: The Success of Hentai VNs vs. Non-Hentai VNs

#15 Post by Nicol Armarfi » Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:38 pm

I really don't tend to discriminate when it comes to hentai VN's versus non-hentai VNs, specifically for the reason that Mikey stated: that hentai is just a feature. If the game itself is interesting I would not mind playing it regardless. I mean, I also like mystery novels but I would still play a VN even if it didn't have mystery in it.

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