Website Renewal

Main PageNow that the new website’s in beta, its time to finally talk about the new changes and show you some pictures!

Buy NowObviously one of the first major changes is the layout and appearance. We’ve compressed the sections down into Latest Releases, Coming Soon, and Available Titles to better showcase more titles in less space. In addition, you can now purchase our all-ages games from the Adult side as well. We’ve also made sure to add one-click “Buy Now” buttons to help speed up the shopping process. You’ll also notice our free downloads such as wallpapers, songs, movies, and demos have been relocated behind a new tab for them so they won’t clutter up the front page and distract from the real products. You’ll also notice there’s no longer a link to the blog here, but that’s because our blog posts will be directly linked to the Hot News now.

You’ll also notice two sidebars instead of one now. The right-hand bar is mostly the same, but the left-hand bar now provides quick links to brands, tags, and user reviews. We’ve also tweaked the catalog page to allow for more visual content, but that brings us to our next point.

Reviews

In addition to the new layout changes, we’ve also added recommendations and user reviews. Now you can go to any game’s product page and add your own review of the product, all of which can be viewed and read at the bottom of the product page. The recommendations system isn’t tailored to individual users yet, but it will let you see what other kinds of titles people have purchased in addition to the game(s) you’re currently viewing or placing in your cart.

Currency

Next, let’s discuss one of the biggest changes our users will notice–the currency shift. With the shift of our website onto brand-new servers, we will now be selling our games in US Dollars, not the Euro. Prices will remain mostly the same, but for clarification, this is how the prices will shift:

€15.95→ $19.95
€19.95→ $24.95
€24.95→ $29.95
€29.95→ $34.95/$39.95
€34.95→ $44.95
€39.95→ $49.95

That said, all the information pertaining to your account will remain perfectly intact after the move, so if you’d to prefer to purchase something while it’s still priced in Euros, by all means, please do.

Checkout

Furthermore, we’ll be adding one additional new system to the website as well-a points system. Every time you purchase a new game from us on our website, you’ll receive points! (About 5 points per dollar spent) You’ll then be able to use to your points for a discount on your next purchase (For example, 100 points will reduce the price by $1.00). In the future, we hope to expand on the opportunities and ways in which you’ll be able to use your points.

Soul Link page

We’ll also be introducing a new DRM system to our games: Soft Denchi. For those unfamiliar with this, it’s currently one of the top DRM systems for digital sales in Japan. Initial use of Soft Denchi will require you to install the program on your computer, but afterwards our use of the DRM will continue to function as your standard One-Time Activation Code. Soft Denchi will run in the background, and though it can be used to do more, we have no intention of using its “battery charge” features at this time. The activation code works for the first machine you use it on, and you can visit your My Account page to generate up to five additional codes for use on different machines. (More info on the forums)

Tabs

Also, as you may have noticed, we’ve added a Hard Copy tab to our website as well. This section will still take some time for us to finish opening up, but we will be moving hard copy sales away from our old EU Storefront, and directly onto our site. Once this is complete, we will begin our own direct hard copy sales straight from us, to you, the end user. This will eventually be open to customers of all regions, though the hard copies themselves will be shipping from the US. (We hope to have this service up and running by this summer).

Last but not least, we also have brand new designs for our mascot on the way! com子下書き_aboutus

 

(Update: For those concerned about the DRM, more info is available on the forums)

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92 Comments

  1. I’m not very happy about the new DRM scheme having a program running in the background, but everything else looks quite good. The discount points is an especially nice idea.

    Does the DRM program only run while playing the game, or does it run at all times?

    • By default the program runs at all times in the background, but you can turn it off if you must. See below for more details.

      • That’s bad. I don’t care how lightweight it is–I don’t want it running when the game isn’t on. Please look into making the application start when the game starts and closing when the game closes. Just imagine if every game manufacturer implemented their own tool like this. We’d have 100 different useless background processes running that could cause stability issues and interfere with legitimate programs and each other.

  2. Nintendo Maniac 64

    Shouldn’t companies be looking at moving towards the GOG model of no DRM, not farther away from it? Makes me wonder if even the hard copy versions will have this new DRM…

    • There’s DRM and then there’s DRM. This is about as pacific as a DRM gets. It’s light, it doesn’t bother you, it doesn’t require an internet connection to run your games. You’ll likely forget about it as soon as you install your first game with it.

      DRM is not all the same folks, learn to judge objectively. Plus, if it means possibly more games, what’s the big deal?

  3. Can I please please please make my Pony review?

    I actually grew attached to the loli Comko design, but the new design is also pretty.

    As for the shift to Dollars, eh… I enjoyed them being in Euros. Now I won’t know how much I am exactly paying anymore! =(

  4. Intrusive background DRM == lost my business. Whose big idea was that?

    • How is it intrusive exactly? It’s about as intrusive as the current one time activation code, which is to say, not intrusive at all. Unless I’m missing something, I don’t see what the problem is.

  5. It’s great that you’re up-front about the DRM. I don’t mind verifying that I purchased a legitimate copy of the game. However, I do have requirements on support software that I put on my computer:

    – Places all registry information in only one or two easily found places. No hidden spots in five locations.
    – Does not add any noticeable overhead. Anymore than 5 MB of memory or 1% CPU and I’ll be suspicious.
    – Can be stopped/killed then restarted at a later time without ill-effects
    – Does not transmit personally identifiable information. That includes installed machine hardware and software.
    – Does not install into a hidden folder
    – Installer is less than 5 MB in size total.

    I want it to do its job of validation and nothing else. No games no surprises.

    It’d be pointless to purchase any games if refusing to install the companion software will render the game unplayable.

    I’m sure the requirements gimp the software, but keep in mind that I do not have the source code of the DRM in front of me and you’re asking for a lot when you ask me to just trust you.

    Personally, I wonder why you’re abandoning the original verification scheme.

    • I’ve laid out the details below, but the new DRM follows everything you’ve outlined in your bullets. The entire Soft-Denchi folder is only 2.43MB on my hard drive, and I chose to place it right inside C:Program FilesSoftDenchi

      As I’ve mentioned below, one of the primary reasons for switching to this new DRM was to reduce conflicts caused with anti-virus software.

  6. Guess most Japanese developers are going crazy when they hear that someone wants to publish their games without DRM. -.-

    • Yes, there are a lot of publishers who refuse to release their games without DRM. This is largely why some great games like Kara no Shoujo have not been released on our hard copy lineup.

  7. I quite like this new look,( I also like the old) you guys could add a spoiler tag when people write the reviews ( don´t know if you already thought about it) can´t wait for see it up and running,
    when can we expect it?

  8. I’m also concerned about the new DRM system.
    I don’t get why you even need DRM. If someone wants to pirate your game they can go to any hentai forum and download it there. Anyone who thinks that DRM will stop people from pirating is simply naive.
    I even became a MangaGamer customer, because I illegally downloaded Deardrops and liked it so much that I wanted to support its developers.
    Getting rid of DRM and thereby sending out the message that you trust your customers is (in my opinion) a healthier attitude than treating your loyal fans as if they are potential criminals.

    HamuSomu made a good point, but any Japanese developer simply has to look at the controversy sorrounding “SimCity 5” to understand that DRM rather hurts your buisness than help it.

    • Most Japanese developers have absolutely no idea what kind of controversies are going on over the most recent western releases. They don’t speak English, so they can’t read the news even if they wanted to–which would imply they had the free time to read up on western gaming news when they’re too busy trying to make the next deadline so they can keep operating…

      • If small Japanese developers are really that busy than you can’t blame them too much.

        However, I would argue that a company who doesn’t know what their customers want isn’t a good company. Making good games is one thing, but you also have to be customer-friendly. If one only knows the first thing about video game fans than one knows that they all hate DRM. A video game company who isn’t aware of this doesn’t pay close enough attention to their customers.

        I personally won’t stop buying your games, because your type of DRM seems pretty “harmless”. The bad kinds of DRM are those that require a constant connection to the internet. The Diablos II DRM was like that and it resulted in an webwide nerd rage epidemic.
        But I stand by my statement that companies who think that DRM stops piracy are very naive indeed. The only thing that it does is alienating customers (as is perfectly exemplified by the comments for this post).

      • You mean Diablo III and quite frankly the nerd rage might have been loud but Blizzard was laughing all the way to the bank…

      • Thanks for sharing the link.
        I’ve read the post and it’s very enlightening. I had no idea that piracy hurts your buisness so much. I thought that someone who pirates your game wouldn’t have bought a copy in the first place, but apparently I’m wrong.

        Maybe you should write up a summary of the post for the blog here. I think many of the people who are grumpy about the DRM right now would show more understanding once they see the big picture.

  9. It is a shame there is not a steam like service you could use to provide digital copies on a per service account basis instead of relying on per title DRM. The whole 5 charges thing makes purchases feel more like an expensive extended rental service than an actual sale. Has Mangagamer considered creating their own distribution software? Perhaps something of that scale is simply out of the picture?

    • Nintendo Maniac 64

      Honestly this is more like Steam than you think, it’s just that the tracking of your purchased products and the authentication aren’t as tightly integrated together.

    • For what it’s worth, our old activation codes were only good for 5 activations as well. As always though, if you need additional ones just e-mail our support with the request. We’ll be glad to provide more if they’re needed.

      Personally, I’ve considered it, and I think Bamboo may have as well, but that involves a large programming team to develop, which is something that’s not really available to us at present.

  10. To offer a bit more information on the DRM:

    When you first install a game using Soft-Denchi, it will ask you to download and install Soft-Denchi to computer.

    The Installation program will ask you where you’d like to install it, so it’s fully visible and identifiable.

    The Soft-Denchi program then runs in the background. This background program only takes about 720kb~1120kb of memory (which is nothing compared to Steam’s 125MB or even Task Manager’s 4MB).

    This one program will keep track of the activations for all of your games which use it as DRM on your machine, so after the first installation, activation simply involves entering your code.

    One of the prime reasons we decided to switch to this DRM is that it’s already recognized by all of the major anti-virus software providers, so the introduction of this new DRM should end all the conflicts we’ve seen people have with the old DRM.

    • As I mentioned in the blog, Soft-Denchi also features a “battery charge” option for developers that use it.

      WE WILL NOT BE USING THIS OPTION!

      But, for those interested can know what the “battery charge” option is:

      While you are online or otherwise connected to the internet, the Soft-Denchi program running in the background uses the connection to “charge the batteries” on games that use this feature. This is why it has a program running in the background. When you’re offline, playing the game in question drains this “battery”. However, the way we plan to use this DRM, said “batteries” are set to “permanently charged” upon initial activation, allowing for infinite offline play.

    • If you’ve ever used DLsite to purchase a game or recently purchased a Japanese visual novel that requires activation, you probably have Soft-Denchi installed on your computer already.

      As I said before, it’s currently one of the most popular form of DRM among Japanese publishers and customers.

      • Nintendo Maniac 64

        And Steam is one of the most popular DRM on PCs, that doesn’t make it the right path to follow.

        Heck, Minecraft doesn’t even use DRM at all.

      • I seriously hope you don’t mean “Piratebuster”. This thing is a terrible pile of crap that makes mIRC and several other programs crash when it’s in use.

      • Minecraft doesn’t need DRM, frankly, because notch and Mojang have already made a crapton of money off of it.

        MangaGamer is a much smaller company without an established base.

  11. I think I will just pay for the game, and then download the non-drm pirated version.
    I want to support MG, but I won’t tolerate any drm app running in the background.

    • I was thinking the same thing. I don’t want anything running in the background as well, but I wana support MG. I guess their hard copies are on my list for now…

  12. Love the new web design.
    the points system is really nice to get some discounts for loyal costumers.
    May I suggest that the extras are next to the purchased games like in GOG for easy access?
    The DRM is always a annoying to costumers since pirates just take it out and enjoy the game without all the mess… But as I read here is one of the less intrusive ones so OK well deal with it.

  13. Nintendo Maniac 64

    One thing is that I’m quite OCD about having programs be portable when they can be, and the current DRM is actually portable in that case – you can throw a VN on a flash drive, run the program EXE, enter your product code, and the program will run in all its portable goodness.

    • Hrmm, I haven’t tried that myself, but it does sound possible?

      • Nintendo Maniac 64

        How so? The new DRM would require you to install a program on the PC in question while the current DRM does not.

      • Soft-Denchi is a tiny download and you could easily throw a copy on your USB drive if you are keeping backups on one of those.

        Not to mention that I’m not sure it was even possible to play all Manga Gamer releases portably – I’m pretty sure at least some of them don’t put their save data in the game folder.

        Besides, and I’m being frank here, why the heck would you want to play a porn game on a work computer or any computer that isn’t at least kind of yours? That’s the only situation I could think of where you would not be able to install something and, well, yeah.

        All this complaining about one of the least intrusive DRM systems around is bothering me : P. I have a copy of Steins;Gate from Japan and Soft-Denchi doesn’t do a thing to performance. In that regard it’s even better than Steam.

  14. Don’t particularly mind about the DRM change.
    But why are you changing Comko!!!
    Actually I know why, and it makes perfect business sense. I just hate cow udders…

    • Cow udders? What are you talking about, the new Comko just exudes pure sexy!

      Just wait until you see her full figure in glorious colored detail! >=D

  15. Honestly, not happy with the new DRM. I don’t use Steam because I don’t like stuff running in the background and I am NOT happy about this change.

    Whilst the change to US dollars is understandable, I quite like Euros, especially as I tend to get a better rate with Euros… go figure.

    Overall though, the site looks nice and Comko looks like she’s grown some – pun intended.

    • Nintendo Maniac 64

      Same here, I don’t like having things running in the background because I’m OCD about my RAM usage due to disabling my page file which itself is because I’m OCD about writing to my SSD and I don’t use a mechanical HDD because I’m OCD about silent computing.

      tl;dr: I’m OCD.

      I also don’t like having to go through Steam to get a copy of a game, which prevents offline transferring and copying among multiple partitions, OSes, and computers. However it would seem that the new DRM actually doesn’t prevent this, which is a bit of a silver-lining.

  16. Just a few technical questions:

    1 – is this DRM installed as a Windows service ?

    2 – must it be installed prior to installing the VNs or is it included with the game ?

    3 – Does it has any known vulnerabilities that we should be careful with ?

  17. Actually, one more point, if you guys are moving your hard copy sales away from Europe to the US aren’t we now going to get hit by customs/VAT/import charges? Not good…

    • Now that, I don’t know. I’m not familiar with VATS or how it works, but I suppose that’s likely?

      • VAT is Value Added Tax, so a US equivalent would be your local sales tax, which is payable on all imports from outside the EU if over £15. So, for the UK, you’re looking at a 20% increase in the cost of the game + postage. Not a very good deal to be honest.

        I can see my hard copy purchases dropping dramatically. 🙁

      • In my case VAT is (game price + huge shipping costs)*(conversion to Euros cost)*24% if more than 5€. As you can see, total value will be more than any non-rich is willing to buy. J-list was already selling your games in US why stop selling them from Europe, you will lose most of your European customers.

      • I wouldn’t really mind if it was only VAT, but our postal service charges €13 for customs too.

        It means (for instance) that the €28 game I ordered from the US last month actually cost me €28 + €6 VAT + €13 ‘handling’ = €47. That’s 67% more!

      • same as FMAN, why moving to the USA if you already have j-list?

        • Well, first of all, after the website renewal we will no longer have any staff or assets located in Europe, so we won’t have anybody on-site in the EU to handle hard copy sales for us.

          Secondly, as I mentioned in the post, we’re hoping to expand our direct hard copy sales to all regions (including the US) once it’s up and running properly.

      • As L-rouge points out, sales in EU will suffer.
        It already is, I was planing to get Otoboku and maybe Boob wars when it got to the EU store, got to scrap that plan now :/

      • I agree. You will lose your EU customers for Hard Copy. I know i currently have bought none, but with the VAT, a 29,95 $ hardcopy game will be like 40 € for me (shipping included). And with the devise change, it will difficult for me to buy new games, i will have bank fees. It’s like 10% of the purchase, so i don’t know what to do.

      • But, what you are doing is having two sources to buy your games in US of which J-list is going to be more popular as it’s more well known, and very limited number of people from Europe that is willing to order anything. Actually if you are seriously moving whole mangagamer to US, I’m pretty sure I won’t be buying anything anymore. There is always $ to € conversion cost which makes people in EU countries the second class customers, whether you mean it or not. If company started in US, what can you do but if it moves there from EU, don’t expect me to support them anymore. And you probably didn’t even think what problems you may end up having in US by publishing games with loli characters. It’s legal there, but people with authority don’t like it so it doesn’t really matter. Netherlands was the best possible country for what you were doing.

  18. Nintendo Maniac 64

    I’m not a Linux guru by far, but couldn’t requiring a background service prevent using WINE? Or am I thinking about it all wrong?

  19. I know hard copies aren’t exactly flying out the door, but couldn’t there be an agent in the EU? I mean… Shipping prices alone from the states aren’t great for any of us. I was holding off on ordering a few games so far only JList had because of their, to be honest, extremely expensive for one game type prices. 🙁

    As for that DRM thing, I can see why it can be needed if manufacturers are more willing to license their games to you. I’m not a fan of MORE resident things, but as long as it can be quit then it’s fine.

    As for that recharge thing though, I fully expect someone big, with a good license thats too good to miss, to demand that it be running…

  20. I’m very miffed about the new DRM as I am a big opponent of DRM and look up to the services like GOG, Desura and to the lesser extent GamersGate when I buy my games due to their smart policies regarding the protection.
    Up until now I always cracked MG games I bought and really hope that the new system won’t be any more harder to remove.
    As for the hard copies, this is madness. I mean, are you purposefully trying to make less people to buy your games. Now we Europeans will have to pay for shipping and probably taxes. Can’t you make a deal with some European publisher to carry your titles, like United Publications or something?

    • Other retailers like Rightstuf and some Amazon stores carry Mangagamer hard copy titles (although they’re pretty difficult to locate). Are you sure no EU retailers carry them as well?

      • Hmm. Apparently UP does carry MG titles. Didn’t notice that previously. Still, I know only two European retailers that do: UP and Archonia, and Archonia has horrific shipping rates even within Europe.
        The current MG hard copy shop with free shipping was a godsend. It would be a good idea if MG managed a deal with a company that employes free shipping within Europe. Maybe one of the porn-movie companies like Yourchoice or Simplyporndvd would agree to carry games?

  21. Increased DRM and US based hard copies?

    Goodbye low sales, hello no sales.

  22. No.why are you going to change the mascot?. She is so cute as she is as a Tsundere like, flat chest ,and you want to change her for a big bobies gentle girl?Nooo. Don’tdothat.She won’tbe the same anymore,she is going to be a new mascot instade.

  23. Am I the only one that doesn’t care about this DRM stuff and has noticed that Chou Dengeki Strykers is coming this summer?

    • THANK YOU!

      I’m glad someone finally noticed the important message!

      • Well, I think most of us were worried if we started talking about it, said release window would end up jinxed

      • I also noticed that, and surely a lot of people. But i wanted a oficial announcement before talk about it, then i’ll take your words as one.

    • I don’t really care about the DRM as well, I think those who are worried are blowing it out of proportion a bit, I understand their concerns but I’d rather get more games over fighting for DRM free, especially since the last one never gave me any problems whatsoever.

      On another note:
      I love the new comko design, honestly I thought her old design was outdated, wasn’t cute at all, didn’t have sex appeal(personal preference here :P), her pose needed a bit more service, but most of all she just looked so generic. A mascot chara should be eye catching and draw in people not have them walk pass and go “meh, oh wait there’s Sonico-chan!”

      I can’t really remember but Danny Choo of Culture Japan(dannychoodotcom) mentioned on one of his posts about people buying stuff from his booth just because his “Mirai-chan” was cute and not because they were his readers. Think it was a post covering the Thailand Game Show.

      Also, if MangaGamer plans to still do giveaways in the future, Danny is the man to go to, many have gone to him including J-List with free giveaways. I mean his website followers are geared towards people who are interested in Japan’s Otaku subculture. The BEST place to spread awareness of Mangagamer’s goals.

  24. Well, since I choose not to deal with DRM anyway, the new DRM doesn’t really change my purchasing habits. I will continue to buy whatever visual novels that interest me that are available in hard copy form, and it’s nice to know that MangaGamer is still going to keep their hard copies DRM-free. About the only real positive about the new website for me is that I can now directly buy hard copy games from MangaGamer without having to pay a ton in shipping fees, since they’re going to ship from the U.S. That means more direct support from me to MangaGamer.

  25. So now I’ll have to pay extra taxes when i wanty to import your hard copy products… Not happy with that. At least now there was a system for both US and EU residents.

  26. I like the the new mascot design. The old one was kind of cute, but it was a loli and I think that’s unfitting for an eroge web site, especially for the target audience of US and EU.
    The new one looks more mature and beautiful although she’s still cute. And she’s definitely more fitting for the web site.
    Will Tick Tack and/or Harukoi Otome be released before Chou? Those two are definitely the titles I’m looking most towards to.

    • I like a lot more the old mascot, but i get yours points too.Leaving that, it seems you get it wrong, tick tack will be relased before chou, then chou and someday, i hope, they’ll release Harukoi otome. I have been waiting for it for years and it still doesn’t have a relase date. I don’t think well see it too soon yet, but i’ll still waiting for it.

    • Tick Tack, yes. Harukoi, we’re still waiting on Nexton to finish applying the changes from the beta test.

  27. Man why is everyone talking about DRM when the real atrocity is that loli mangagamer girl is going away 🙁

    She’s the whole reason I started using this site ~

  28. No options for buy these VNs in Brazil and more languages like brazilian portuguese for the website??????HOLY SHIT ¬¬

    • Probably because they have no reason to believe you will buy since you already pirate everything…

    • If they’re not making much money with English VNs (one of the more commonly spoken languages), why the eff would they expand to a language specific to one country?

  29. Since you’re moving everything to US…Hard Copy included.
    Will you do the same as JAST USA : possibility to “upgrade” a DL Version to an Hardcopy version?

  30. Hmmmmmmmm.

    Not really a fan of DRM, but I get hard-copies anyways, so this doesn’t really effect me all that much.

    I understand the obligation to protect the work with it, but I hope it’s been made clear that the DRM model simply doesn’t work as a deterrent against piracy. It just doesn’t. You might delay the crack by about a week if you’re lucky.

    People who pirate already get this stuff for free, and now they don’t have to deal with DRM. I know you don’t intend to, but it’s actively punishing people who actually buy your games instead of rewarding them. It doesn’t stop piracy, it reduces customer confidence and adds another obstacle to people getting into VN’s that simply don’t like DRM models. I really see no benefit to this.

    • We know it doesn’t stop piracy. But you just mentioned yourself that we have the obligation to protect their work, and all we can do is to choose a DRM that is best supported and causes the least problems for the legit customers.

  31. USA is like the #1 country that pirates games and movies by a log shot. They don’t give a damn, they will steal anything. Try respecting someone’s hard work by not stealing from them if you want your beloved publishers and developers to stay in business.

  32. i have one question will the new drm stop my anti virus from going bananas with the exe files

  33. how are we going to get acces to this blog from the main page? and when are you going to finish the update? it should have finished yesterday and for some minutes it were, but after that has been closed the page. I was going to buy SSSS when i found it clossed again.

  34. Will the move to Soft Denchi allow you to release hard copies for titles that you’ve previously been unable to release that way?

  35. Yeah… I’m not going to install a seperate program specifically for DRM. Not buying anything with this attached.

    No, I don’t use Steam either.

  36. So, how’s that hard copy part coming along? Would love to try it soon.

  37. what is soft denchi wrap which to play SSSS super sexy secret spy

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