2016 Licensing Survey Results––And Some Hints For The Year To Come!

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It’s time for the post I’m sure a few of you have been waiting for: the licensing survey results! Apologies for the wait, it has been a busy few weeks here as of late. We’d like to extend another round of thanks to the nearly 8000 people who responded this year.

Most of the base demographics were pretty similar to last year, although it seems we got a slightly less diverse group of respondents this time around: only about 20% of respondents were women and we only had about half of the 13-17 year olds that we got last year (perhaps many of them were 17 last year!). I’d attribute some of the discrepancy to the difference in coverage of the survey this year.

Interestingly, while the sample was slightly smaller and less diverse, more people are buying more visual novels than ever now: over 60% of respondents bought three or more visual novels in the last year. PC remains the overwhelmingly most popular platform (actually gaining a few percentage points this year over handhelds), but Steam has moved into first place for most popular purchasing format with independent digital downloads following close behind and interest in hardcopies waning––though, despite that you will be seeing several new games on our convention tables this year.

In terms of what qualities people are most concerned about when deciding whether to buy a visual novel, story, art and characters remain the top three. This year’s new option, translation quality, being seemingly a rather minor concern for most coming in at 6th place beneath the presence of erotic content and preferred relationship types. While not an absolute necessity for most, the majority of respondents demonstrated a moderate preference for HD graphics (one of our unannounced projects might particularly enticing to this crowd, no joke).

Romance and science fiction/fantasy took the top spots in the genre question––quite a few of our upcoming announcements fit one or both of those categories, particularly fantasy. Yuri and nukige gained substantial ground this year with otome and BL losing a few points (probably related to the smaller proportion of women responding this year).

And now for the part you’ve all been waiting for, the top license choices:

  1. Rance Series ↑6

  2. Baldr Series ↑1

  3. Sono Hanabira Series NEW!

  4. Dies Irae NEW!

  5. Fate/Stay Night ↓4

  6. White Album 2 ↑3

  7. Shin Koihime Musou ↓1

  8. Majikoi Series ↓6

  9. Aiyoku no Eustia NEW!

  10. Diabolik Lovers NEW!

Nothing terribly surprising, as you might expect. The SonoHana contingent was particularly strong this year and Dies Irae certainly shot right up the ranking though. There were actually a lot of other BL and otome titles just outside of the top 10 (DRAMAtical Murder took 11th and BL/otome titles took 10 spots of the top 50 total). Key titles showed up quite frequently as well. For those of you who put Umineko in 35th place: it shouldn’t be too much longer!

So, where’s that leave us for the year ahead? Well, there were a few hints peppered in the analysis above, but we can give you a few more morsels to chew on: continuations and sequels certainly are in vogue these days, so you might want to keep your ears tuned for some spirited additions and some double trouble.

And lastly: we’ll be having not one, but two special guests at Anime Expo this year. Whoever could they be~

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98 Comments

  1. More Sono Hanabira on Steam please 😀

  2. If sono hanabira is going to be a thing please make sure to rectify what I think is a memory leak issue with the kirikiri engine for several years I read the games they froze the computers I were using, so in the end I gave up reading them… I still like Peko’s art and glad he’s back on a new eroge project

  3. Sad to see fewer women respondants to the survey – I suspect in part that was because last year there was a really strong push in the BL game community to support NTY!!! and request more of the same. I didn’t see nearly as many posts promoting the survey in BL or Otome circles this year.

    Still looking forward to Ozmafia, and I hope to see more female targetting games announced this year!

    • I really think it’s because fewer outlets reported on the survey this time around and the ones that did were more male-dominated ones (a couple places framed it as “submit a survey to win a free sex game!!!” resulting in some less than great data…)

      • Yeah I agree. I was close to missing the survey myself because I hadn’t seen any posts on tumblr or twitter about it until the last day. Last time otome and bl fans spread the word about the survey in order to make sure MangaGamer would know there is indeed a market for those games.

      • I was actually going to comment that this is the exact reason I didn’t vote, I only saw that this was a thing now, it somehow flew entirely under my radar. Wish I could’ve supported some of my favourite series (otoge and otherwise!)…

  4. I am glad the survey seems better than the last year (as in, it has less games that already are localized or already has translation or even is quite difficult to bring over) but I would like to know more about the rest of the list, like which other otome/BL titles ended in the top 50.

  5. it’s nice to see a otome title on the top 10! *cough*eventhoisdiahell*cough*
    it would be nice see another otome title announcement this year
    since so far things seems a lil bit slow for otome fans
    also can’t wait for Ozmafia! 😀

  6. I’m surprised Diabolik Lovers is the most-wanted otome game. Would’ve thought it would be Black Wolves Saga.

    And guys, DMMD is already translated! And it’s a Nitro+ game! Get with the program already.

    • DL is way more popular then BWS, and a lot more well known in the west. But BWS would probably be a more feasible game to bring over since it’s already made for PC.

      • actually Tokyo Yamanote Boys would be a better choice thinking of Rejet games since the entire series is for pc
        Black Wolves Saga only the first game ‘Bloody Nightmare’ is for pc, ‘Last Hope’ is for psp and they are only together on recently announced vita port
        localizing one game and not the other would be a rll bad choice since both games complete each other

    • With regards to DMMd, I’m probably not the only fan who wants to see an OFFICIAL English translation that I can throw my money towards. Also, unless I missed something MG said about not being able to license Nitro+ games (which is entirely possible), I’m not sure what exactly there is to “get” about that. Might I ask you to elaborate?

      • JAST USA is partners with Nitroplus. Every Nitroplus game with an official English release was published by JAST. MangaGamer might not have the option to license Nitroplus or Nitroplus Chiral games since they are JAST’s territory. That’s probably what the other poster meant.

        • Well, after the whole Flowers thing, I don’t think anyone’s ‘territory’ is safe anymore. At which point I would hope MG would slip some away, because we’ve been waiting years for any of the Nitro+ localizations to happen. So far we’ve only had the first three they announced and then they’re skipping to SoniComi?

  7. OMG Aiyoku no Eustia I’m so happy <3
    thnak you thank you thank you <3

  8. No Walkure Romanze or Princess Lover! love? Guess gonna take a long break in the wind then. >.<

  9. Please god let us have White Album 2…. I WILL PAY LOTS OF MONEY!!!

    • I got the Special JP editions for PS3, and PC hopefully I can get an eng version to my collection to play it again

      PS
      White Album 2 Closing Chapter is one hell of a ride

  10. Aiyoku no Eustia is one of the if not the best VN I’ve ever played. Definitelly deserves english release.

  11. -Sobs- Where’s my Lilith Games MG…….also I can’t help but laugh at Fate Stay Night…….

    • Dunno. I have a feeling that if we don’t hear about a Space Pirate Sara hardcopy at one of these upcoming cons, we may not see any new Lilith titles. I’ve sent inquiries about a Sara hardcopy to MG’s twitter and ask, but received silence. So here’s hoping something is announced.

  12. I always feel like I’m in the very tiny minority of dudes who like BL and otome .-. I’m really happy to see Diabolik Lovers at #10 though! Though I’m sad that it’ll most likely not come to the PS Vita ;-; Honestly i hate playing games on my PC and would love it if MangaGamer moved to PlayStation.

    • Since MG makes money by selling porn games and Sony doesn’t like those, it’s really hard to believe that coul ever happens.

  13. I’m kind of surprised DiaLovers made number 10. But I know that’s never going to happen because it’s handheld only.

    But hopefully we do get more BL/otome offerings down the road.

  14. The top ten don’t look so bad overall, especially the newcomers Dies Irae and Ayoku no Eustia. But having with Rance a rape nukige as most requested title and with Sono Hanabira a yuri nukige devoid of any story on third place is a bit sad.

  15. Just please something from Alicesoft. Oyako rankan rance, Beat angel escalayer or Busou Shoujotai Blade☆Briders Soesnt matter, i buy every game in their library

  16. Rance in 1st? Oh we’re in for a trip…

    • Just because it’s the most requested doesn’t mean it would get licensed, though. Although considering that MangaGamer has already done other games from the same company, it at least has a better chance than last year’s 1st place.

    • More hard copies is always good news. There’s very little I buy without having one.

  17. I would hock a kidney to get the Higurashi console arcs released in English. Even if they’re on PC and don’t have the console versions’ graphics, features, or voice acting. Kaga Create dissolved, so is there any chance of Mangagamer getting rights to localize the script from Alchemist?

  18. Where is the speculation on MangaGamer’s 2016 announcements? Usually whenever they give hints, someone quickly figures out most of the hints and posts what the games will be. Come on, eroge and visual novel community, do it again this year! 🙂

    • From what I’ve heard, Imouto Paradise 2 seems more or less guaranteed.

      Other than that though, I got nothing. Maybe Evenicle because it’s a Fantasy HD title with twins, elves, and probably spirits floating around, but that sounds WAY too good to be true.

    • Well, the only guess I have so far is that the HD graphics part followed by the ‘no joke’ statement could be a hint for Sorcery Jokers from 3rdEye.

    • Evenicle could be one of them. It has twins(double), ears(elf twins), and is a fantasy game. I doubt any of the titles are from new partners as they usually get marked as such in announcements, and Haro has confirmed that all the clues are for the two Anime Boston games. So which of their partnered companies has made an HD game with spirited and is a sequel?

    • Well, if the hints are all for the Anime Boston announcements, then they are certainly smaller titles. They won’t announce any of their top titles before AX or Otakon.
      So I’d expect something like another short Sono Hanabira, Lilith or Softhouse Seal title.

      • When was their last Seal title released though…

        • About a year ago? I think their last Seal title was Absolute Boob Wars.

          I sorta miss those short quirky nukige.

          Anyways, even though small titles are usually what get announced during Anime Boston, I’m still looking forward to it. I could be Sono Hana or maybe some other minor title I’m looking forward to.

  19. I’m disappointed but not surprised. to hear that Steam is the preferred platform. I like my 18+ versions, so I pretty much hate Steam. I’m also disappointed to hear interest in hardcopies is down. I still need to get the Princess Evangile hardcopy myself.

    I look forward to seeing what new licenses you have in store for us! Personally, I want to see some quality NTR titles like Oyako Rankan *hint hint*

    And of course, I’m hoping against more only all ages stuff. Too many of those recently.

    • Found a problem with your post.

      >quality NTR

      This does not compute.

      • I’m not an NTR fan, but I am somewhat interested in Oyako Rankan because the sheer premise of being a butler who has to protect his mistresses from getting gangraped is hilarious.

        Oh, and it has simulation gameplay which could be neat even if NTR porn is the clear focus.

  20. Also sad to see that Steam is the preferred platform when they refuse to sell games with 18+ content. At least most of those games have the option of being patched. I’m also a little disappointed (though not surprised) that Imouto Paradise 2 wasn’t in the top 10 list. But I’ll stay hopeful that amidst the interest of sequels that this particular visual novel will be among them. Very good survey overall.

    • Steam doesn’t actually refuse to sell 18+ content, there is tons of 18+ games on Steam, even games with sex (Mass Effect, Dragon Age, The Witcher). They refuse to sell porn, so we’ll probably never get an uncensored nukige on Steam. But cutting content is usually the publisher’s decision to avoid getting the game removed, but most eroge wouldn’t even violate any Steam terms if the 18+ content was left in.

      • The problem with eroge is how graphic the sex scenes are. The sex scenes in games like Mass Effect are much less graphic, and those games are M 17+, not AO 18+. The ESRB has some regulations regarding what can and can’t be sold alongside 18+ content, which is why MG had to remove its ESRB rated all-ages games from its store front.

  21. I’m actually glad that Steam is a proffered platform. It means that we’ll see more Steam releases!
    Oh, and I don’t care about 18+ stuff, in most cases H-scenes seem to be forced and out of place.

    • I don’t even care if H-scenes seem forced or are out of place. I’m a perv. You’ll take away my porn over my dead body XD Or more realistically, I’ll just stop buying new VNs for the most part if the market starts to focus even more on Steam. I’m fine with stuff like Princess Evangile that has both an 18+ version and an all ages version, but I have very little interest in most of Mangagamer’s recent licenses like Tokyo Babel, Himawari, and Pygmalion for example since no 18+ version exists for them.

      • Strong agreement here. Babel, Himawari, and Pygmalion probably will struggle a bit.

        • They won;t struggle. Steam basically assures all three of those will sell better then just about anything on MG’s site. This is really a core issue when it comes down to licensing and the future of VN’s, steam is just a better and safer option when it comes to VN’s that really, why wouldn’t you license all ages and tap that market when the market outside that barely buys anything? This is most obvious with Propeller’s titles we are getting. It’s no coincidence we are only getting all ages stuff from Propeller and don’t be surprised if their next game in Japan has no h-scenes or easily removable ones.

  22. need more shin koihime pls

  23. Well, too bad for PS Vita user that most like PC…. I own Mac so that’s not much of an option for me. I would already wish that coming OZMAFIA!! would eventually get PSV port as well, as I understood it’s PC only.

  24. Why the heezy is Fate/stye night still relevant in this day and age? It’s just trite, at this point.

    Also, glad I am not the only one who requested Eustia.

  25. I’m a bit worried that Steam is so popular. I don’t hate Steam, and have purchased many conventional games through it. I prefer my visual novels outside of Steam though. I don’t care for nukige, but worry about censorship if Steam becomes the default go to method for distributing visual novels. Just imagine something like Song of Saya, one of my favorite titles, edited to conform to Steam’s marketplace.

  26. I would lie if I said I wasn’t disappointed Diabolik Lovers got so many votes, mostly because MangaGamer focuses on PC games. Ken ga Kimi, MIYAKO ~Tsukiyomi no Yume~ and The Exorcism of Maria -Complete Edition- are some examples of really good PC otome games that haven’t been translated!

    Then there is also the possibility of R-18 otome games which there are a ton of for PC. From what I know Akazukin to Mayoi no Mori and Ijiwaru My Master are the two most requested ones.

    • One of my votes was for Diabolik Lovers, but that was partly because I did not realize that MangaGamer only localized through PC versions of games, and because there are basically no translated otome games that are for mature audiences (18+). However, I wish that MangaGamer could be more diverse in what systems they localize for, since I KNOW a lot of people who play on PS Vita rather than PC or Steam, and I am one of those who prefer PS Vita over PC because my computer cannot run games all too well, and sometimes visual novels will perform with lag, especially during the opening cinematic. I do wish more otome games would be localized, it would just be nice if more came over to the PS Vita because I know it will function smoother than the alternative in my case, and perhaps others.

  27. It’s not that surprising that there are few woman anser it, I always see ManGagamer as a more hetero man-oriented so usually I don’t follow the social media, I didn’t get in time to vote in the poll. Is nice that you are starting to licence an otome, and a BL game tho (game that I really wanna try when I get a job)

  28. I was hoping that Imouto Paradise 2 would be in the top since the the first one was in the top for 2 years in a row, but now thinking about it I don’t think alot of people even know there is a sequel.

  29. Well, I have two guesses based on those hints, assuming the “spirit” thing means the fantasy genre:
    1) Bullet Butlers: Has some major elf characters which matches the ears hint, and not only do we have twin characters with Rick and Alfred, but also their guns would match with the “double trouble” hint.
    2) Shuffle Essence+: Anyone familiar with the series knows how the ear hint matches this, and the double hint can match with Sia and Kikyo and if it doesn’t necessarily mean twins it could also match with Kareha and Tsubomi.

    • I personally think another propeller game being announced so soon is unlikely because Tokyo Babel isn’t out yet. Or at the very least, MG wouldn’t plan to announce it now.

      I think the spirited word refers to actual spirits or ghosts, but that’s vague enough to refer to some random enemies in Alice Soft games, or the spirits you see occasionally in the What a Beautiful series. Or even the servants in Fate/Stay Night if you’re crazy optimistic.

      • Honestly, I’m thinking spirited is going to refer to more Kindred Spirits stuff, like the manga’s with a hardcopy or something. If any clues point to something like Essence+ it would be continuation which could mean fandisc or (and I doubt this) an expanded release.

        • Essence+ is likely one of the two because as he said twins and elves plus this sentence continuations and sequels certainly are in vogue these days,

          • The hints were double trouble and ears. Ears could mean a drama CD for a hard copy or something.

          • The clues don’t all point toward a single game or just Anime Boston(I screwed up on that). The way this post is built and titled, each clue should point to a different title throughout the year. I honestly believe that if anyone gets any of them right it would be like winning the lottery with how vague some of these are…

    • It really threw me with having the All Ages Propeller games being released, since when I was collecting their games, it was the era of Bullet Butlers, and the crossover games. And they were definitely not All Ages friendly.

    • Thank you! Someone else that is thinking about Shuffle as a possibility for a possible release this year. Don’t forget Shuffle! Love Rainbow is the forth game in the series and is a continuation of Sia’s and Primulas stories from Shuffle! which adds to the continuation hint

  30. Ohhh I didn’t know about these surveys… I’l have to try harder to stay updated…

    So cool that Diabolik Lovers made the list. Lol what a terrible game but I love it so much xDD

  31. Baldr Sky? I didn’t even know Mangagamer had that as an option.
    If Rance: Helman Kakumei or Baldr Sky get chosen, I’m buying three copies of each. One for myself, one for my brother, one for my friend. Don’t have much interest in anything else.

    • Every vn in existence was an option for the survey, hell people even voted for manga and Ln’s. Don’t expect almost any of these to actually get licensed, this was just to check interest.

      • The survey was too easily missed; I didn't even know it existed.

        I see. Well, I’ll hold on to hope for Helman Kakumei. One of these years…!

        • It might happen eventually. Though when/if it does, its going to have to wait for every other Rance game first. Releasing 03 before the rest would kill the rest of series. 03 having voices and better art then everything else makes it something you want to wait on, until at least 5D-Quest and 01 are done.

          • …ugh. I’m personally hoping they jump right in with Rance Quest, and move on to IX before going backwards. Please don’t make us wait for the better titles Mangagamer! I’ll seriously hate you.

          • While 5D might not be good, 6 is considered one of the best Rance titles of the series with Quest actually not being that good. Quest+magnum is decent from what I’ve heard, but 6 is still better. 9 is nothing special and 01/03 are alright. Just so people know, the best Rance game is Sengoku when it comes to gameplay. Nothing else really comes close.

          • Everything before 5D is too low-quality for me to bear. The Rance 2 remake may be an exception, don’t know.
            The one I’m looking forward to most is definitely IX. Really like 2 characters in there, and the gameplay looks very fun.

            Since there’s not much chance of Mangagamer starting with IX right off the bat, I’m hoping they start with the later titles and move backwards, meaning Quest first.

  32. well, Dies Irae and Ayoku no Eustia are nice newcomers.
    Rance games are obviously number 1

    though I am suprised that no EUSHULLY games made it to the list (they are the ones who made Kamidori Alchemy Meister)

    games from Eushully I would want to see in english:
    Himegami Alchemy Meister
    Tenbin no La DEA. ~Ikusa Megami MEMORIA~ (Battle Goddess Memoria)
    Ikusa Megami Verita (Battle Goddess Verita)
    Madou Koukaku
    Soukoku no Arterial

  33. I gotta say I am really disappointed in this list. I didn’t see the survey till the end as well. There are so many eroge and b/g visual novels on the internet already as it is, it’s pretty much all I have been able to find. Fansub groups tend to only sub these types of games. I am glad to see Diabolik Lovers made it, but it wasn’t one of my choices. Even though I will Definitely buy DL, I am afraid it will turn off Americans to visual novels, making them see it as pervy and sadistic, portraying women as stupid, weak, masochists, something most Americans stereotype Japanese games and Anime as already. I am aware this is part of the culture too, but there are so many other games that are all age appropriate and are getting no attention. I am happy for the otome and other Visual novel titles that have been released recently, but this list excludes a huge part of an untapped market.

    • First, this is not a list of what is being licensed. This is simply a list of what fans voted for and thus desire. Ergo, western otome fans wanted diabolik more then any other otome game. Second, we are not getting diabolik. It’s vita only, which MG can’t and probably shouldn’t touch. They would aim for something they can get and release on PC.

      So be disappointed all you want, this is what people actually want to see come west. Most of these won’t, but this is what people actually want. People interested in VN’s mostly don’t want all ages stuff, they came to this hobby for porn and maybe stories/gameplay in one package. At least, that’s why I’m here.

      Also, that market isn’t really untapped. Ozmafia is checking the otome market next month, and bl has already been checked and did relatively well. There are several otome games available in the west, and a decent number of bl fan translations. The problem is, most people interest in this hobby don’t really want high tier otome/bl stuff, and that is reflected in the survey.

    • I agree with you there. I guess people are more into flapping then fallowing a story. Shame though. Still some good titles here, but a lot of them left untouched.

  34. I’m guessing “spirited additions” refers to Kindred Spirits on the Roof. The only thing I can think of is the manga tie-ins, though that seems like a strange thing for MangaGamer to work on.

  35. Well, I’m happy that my vote of Dies Irae actually made the list this year! 😀 (Since I keep voting for it in the hope the series makes it ;_; )

  36. I hope this year Shin Koihime Musou Otome Ryouran Sangokushi Engi Mangagmer englsih reliese

  37. I hope this year mangagamer relieses Shin Koihime Musou Otome Ryouran ☆Sangokushi Engi english

  38. please do rance series i would spend entire pay checks to get those games in English iv been waiting years for them to be translated

  39. Every time I see people pleading for Rance I lose hope in humanity. How is that a-hole rapist a hero among hentai lovers? At least some people choose wisely and picked Baldr Series.

    • There’s a lot more to Rance then just the main character. If all Rance had was Rance, it would never have become the longest running h-game series in Japan. In a way, its the Final Fantasy of h-games, where each game is an RPG while having completely different gameplay and memorable characters.

      Basically, Rance is not exactly popular just because of its main character, there’s a lot more to it then just that. In fact, Sengoku Rance is one of my favorite games of all time, it just gets so many features and mechanics right, and I don’t even really care for Rance himself.

  40. If they do all of MajiKoi, I’d give my red head soul for all of them. MajiKoi, MajiKoi S and the other 5… I want them. I’m surprised that Fate was on here, but mostly because of the prevalence of the fan patches, which are good quality as is *Not that I have them, Baka.* Rance being so high isn’t a surprise to me. Aiyoku kinda surprised me as I didn’t expect Shichigatsu to be in these lists, what with there being so few of those games getting fan translations. And Dries Irae… Is that popularity due to the anime coming out soon?

  41. The only vn I can think of that meets most of the hints from the article is White Album 2 (HD graphics, sequel, music-oriented (ears) and love triangle (double trouble))
    I really hope I’m right because I want to play that so bad.

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