How crowded is the visual novel market now?

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Nighten
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Re: How crowded is the visual novel market now?

#1 Post by Nighten » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:08 am

[ Pytom Here: This thread was started by a spam user, or perhaps someone infected with malware that sticks random links in their posts. Since the question was on point and has a couple of good answers, I've copied the starter to this post before deleting the original post. ]
I was logging onto steam and realized wow...there are a ton of visual novels on there now. First, that made me glad there was so many (hey more fans of visual novels right) but then I wondered, how does this affect the typical visual novel maker? How crowded is the market? Is it good in that there are more fans or is it actually far worse since now everyone is over-crowded (spam), its really difficult to get any attention whatsoever unless you have a really controversial visual novel or something that surprisingly taps into the vein of the mainstream?

Just curious and was hopeful people could chip in their thoughts.

I noticed the same thing, especially on Kickstarter: as I write this, there are 11 visual novels trying to get funded at the same time. For the last couple of years some EVN even become really successful, like Monster Prom, VA-11 Hall-A or Dream Daddy to name a few; Visual Novel are quite popular on Steam, and I don't think it was imaginable ten years ago.
So yeah, the market as changed; but I stay optimistic.
I have no experience in making commercial Visual Novel, but the Visual Novel genre is by design very diverse: You have theme from romance (who have many variations) to horror, realistic to fantasy setting, serious tone to goofy one, Japanese to western style...
My point is, you can't please everyone just because you are a Visual Novel. It's not enough, because the offer is larger than ever. However, there are a lot of different VN players who expect different things, and you can appeal to them.
The difficult part is to reach out to the right players, and that's what marketing is about (because game don't sell by itself).

TD;DR: The market is bigger than ever, but individual niche and sub-genre may still have some space for you.
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Re: How crowded is the visual novel market now?

#2 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:27 am

It is a double-edged sword if you are a developer.

Larger potential audience, but you'll have to work a lot harder to stand out above the crowd. Once upon a time, just being a visual novel in English guaranteed you a pool of players, because only a handful of visual novels came out a year for the English-speaking players.

But now, with tools like Ren'Py, Tyranobuilder, and Visual Novel Maker, anyone can make a visual novel. It is the same for any game genre - the tools have been democratized so that development has opened up.

You'll need to be on-point with your art, writing, and design to stand a chance. It will definitely help to find and cater to a niche or under-served sub-genre like Nighten suggested. Even then, success isn't guaranteed.

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Re: How crowded is the visual novel market now?

#3 Post by JBShields » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:47 am

I think one of our biggest challenges as VN Devs is that not enough readers know what a visual novel is. Combine that with that many of us prefer to build for the PC, the traditional markets of portable devices used mainly in the East is not where we're building. So the question becomes: how do we get more readers to be willing to read a book on a PC? We need to open up this dialogue more. My suggestion is that if you have a good example of a VN: showcase it at a Convention. I know four VN devs including myself who are doing that this year in the US, but that isn't enough. We need to talk to more people about what VNs are to build the fan base. Our fan base may not even be anime nor gamer folks...we need to dig and find them. Who would like an interactive story? That's what we need as a community to be asking so dev groups can stay productive.

[And I know some here will say "I port to Android"; but I don't think the core problem is the platform as much as it is growing the audience. Android VN readers are familiar with "pay to read". Most PC/Mac ports are all about 1 cost and you get the whole package--an uninterrupted reading experience. The types of readers you have with someone who prefers Pc/Mac built games to Android might even be different--who knows? It's something to think about].

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Re: How crowded is the visual novel market now?

#4 Post by VimislikArt » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:18 pm

JBShields wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:47 am
My suggestion is that if you have a good example of a VN: showcase it at a Convention. I know four VN devs including myself who are doing that this year in the US, but that isn't enough. We need to talk to more people about what VNs are to build the fan base.
Make that five. In the past few months, I've done some showings at local comic conventions, and some smaller game conventions, and I'm planning on doing way more next year.

Comic conventions have a TON of overlap with the gamer/anime crowd, and they are just HANKERING for something to do in Artist Alley while they wait for panels they want to see. I've only been hitting smaller game conventions, where there is plenty of time to play a bit of every game there, so I'm usually one of the last games the goers will stop at, but they all give it a try.

It's been an absolute blast so far! It makes all my hard work some worth it to watch people excitedly read! And it's really helpful to see what parts confuse/slow people down, so I can make adjustments for later builds.
Check out my VN, King of the Cul-De-Sac, currently in beta production! Try the demo HERE!

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Re: How crowded is the visual novel market now?

#5 Post by Imperf3kt » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:00 am

For those curious, more discussion can be found here
viewtopic.php?t=44731#p458997
Which is presumably where the spam originated it's copy/paste
Warning: May contain trace amounts of gratuitous plot.
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Re: How crowded is the visual novel market now?

#6 Post by Nighten » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:03 am

Sorry I didn't saw it was a bot; I noticed the author had only one post, but I didn't paid much attention to it.
Thanks bot for bringing back this subject tho !
JBShields wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:47 am
Our fan base may not even be anime nor gamer folks...we need to dig and find them. Who would like an interactive story? That's what we need as a community to be asking so dev groups can stay productive.
The problem is that we are talking about a extremely large demographic; If you look at literature enthousiastes, they tend to define themself as fan of their favorite genre (YA, Fantasy, Classics...). If for exemple we want to sell a book to these people, we are not gonna shout into the crowd saying "Hey I've made a book! You guys like book right?".
Interactive Fiction is even broader than Visual Novel: Do we have the same audience as RPGs? Point'n'Click? Choose your own adventure books? Does all theses peoples have something in common? It's a very interesting reflection to have for sure.

Since you talk about Android, I would really like to see some input from mobile VN developers! I was surprised to see so many cool project on the stores (and oh boy, otome is a thing on mobile). Should more dev work on this platforms? Is the market crowded in a similar way?
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Re: How crowded is the visual novel market now?

#7 Post by Imperf3kt » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:09 am

From what I've seen, yes, the Android platform is relatively crowded, but you need to dig a bit to find things.
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Re: How crowded is the visual novel market now?

#8 Post by JBShields » Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:21 pm

VimislikArt wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:18 pm
JBShields wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:47 am
My suggestion is that if you have a good example of a VN: showcase it at a Convention. I know four VN devs including myself who are doing that this year in the US, but that isn't enough. We need to talk to more people about what VNs are to build the fan base.
Make that five. In the past few months, I've done some showings at local comic conventions, and some smaller game conventions, and I'm planning on doing way more next year.

Comic conventions have a TON of overlap with the gamer/anime crowd, and they are just HANKERING for something to do in Artist Alley while they wait for panels they want to see. I've only been hitting smaller game conventions, where there is plenty of time to play a bit of every game there, so I'm usually one of the last games the goers will stop at, but they all give it a try.

It's been an absolute blast so far! It makes all my hard work some worth it to watch people excitedly read! And it's really helpful to see what parts confuse/slow people down, so I can make adjustments for later builds.
That's awesome to hear!

My group also is showing our demo at two conventions. Good. We need to get word out about VNs! That's how we'll be able to keep our VN teams alive. Without an audience--who would we write for, you know?

On the topic of audience, I think you may find this interesting:

My group just did a Twitter poll of Online Comic readers and 90% (out of almost a 100 respondents) HAVE read a visual novel before. That's positive news. I will admit, the results may be skewed since we had VN Devs retweet--but still, that seems to be a possible audience.

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