First of all, we’d like to offer our thanks to all who participated in the survey. We managed to collect information and requests from over 8,000 different people, but now the results are in, so it’s time to share some of the information from our survey!
Well, first of all, it probably comes as no surprise to anyone that the primary market for visual novels is men in the college age-range. 73% of respondents were male, while 23.5% were female, and overall 86% were between the ages of 18-30, with 62.5% being 18-24. Interestingly enough, however, female fans skewed towards slightly younger, with 13% of female respondents being between 13 and 17 years old compared to 3.8% of male respondents.
In terms of consumer habits, there’s also a noticeable trend of greater purchases corresponding to older customers. Those in the ages of 13-17 are more likely to buy one or fewer titles per year, while the primary 18-24 bracket is most likely to buy two per year, though several buy 3-5 titles in a year. This trend continues as customers age, and those over 30 are significantly more likely to buy six or more titles every year.
When asked about barriers to purchasing titles from our company, website issues, poor opinion, and DRM all received negligible responses. The primary barrier for the ~500 people who responded to this question was that they hadn’t known about us before the survey! The secondary barrier was lack of appealing titles, though this was more of an issue for the women surveyed rather than the men. Hopefully our release of No Thank You!! and our upcoming release of Ozmafia can help change that! Among men, one other issue was preference for purchasing on Steam. We certainly hope putting more titles on Steam and providing Steam Keys for all applicable games helps alleviate this barrier.
In our survey we also asked fans where they found their news about visual novels from, and while the results were mostly as we expected, there were a few surprises. Namely, it was interesting to learn that more women get their news from Tumblr than any other site, medium, or forum. In contrast, men showed a slight preference for 4chan and a disdain for Tumblr.
It also came as no surprise that an overwhelming majority of respondents prefer to game on Windows PC, but it was interesting to see that more women preferred using Mac, and made up a significant portion of Mac gamers.
When surveyed about what respondents considered most important when deciding to purchase a visual novel, “story” and “art” were significantly the two most important factors, though art held more sway with women than men. Following on the tails of those two factors, what fans find important is greatly divided by gender. For men, the third most significant factor was erotic content, while for women it was the characters and relationship options (IE male/male, female/male, etc.) Next down for women is genre, voice actors, and erotic content, but for men it’s characters, gameplay, and length. Having an anime was barely listed as a factor by respondents. In terms of age, it came as no surprise that the teenage bracket was more concerned with lower prices, but it was surprising to see that erotic content became more important to both as they aged.
Given the above, it was no surprise that women greatly preferred the otome and BL genres, while men more strongly preferred nukige and slice-of-life genres (though nukige gains importance with age). It also came as no surprise that romance games were the most strongly preferred across all ages and genders. What did come as a surprise was that yuri was liked equally well by all groups, even though it was one of the less favored genres.
Another interesting, yet surprising result of this survey was seeing respondents debunk a lot of running theories about the market. For example, over 63% of respondents prefer digital downloads over hardcopies, and that trends more strongly with the younger crowd while older fans are more likely to prefer hardcopies. Though 78% also said the format of release isn’t a significant deciding factor. Also, surprisingly enough 88% don’t care whether DRM is present or not. So the people who strongly oppose DRM on games only makes up 12% of fans.
We also see a lot of debate over version options for games (adult, all-ages, etc.), but 44% of fans prefer the adult version over all-ages options, and 30% just want whichever version is the original, unedited edition. The people who actually prefer all-ages options above others only makes up 4% of the market. Though the strength of these preferences by fans is fairly evenly split between highly important, completely unimportant, and just wanting the option to choose.
Next up is something our readers might be more interested in–What are the current top 10 brands at MangaGamer according to fans?
While those are the overall results, it’s pretty interesting to see that OVERDRIVE and Navel gain more popularity as fans grow older, taking first and second place respectively among our oldest fans. In contrast, 07th Expansion actually loses support among older fans, and amongst our teen audience, the most popular brand is Ponipachet. Also, this came as little surprise, but Ponipatchet and pa-rade are the first and second most popular brands among our female audience, while the male audience still follows the overall trend. Though it’s also interesting to note that softhouse seal claims 15% of the male audience compared to 2% of the female audience. Unsurprisingly, all of our current nukige brands are more popular with men than women… with the exception of PSYCHO. For some reason, women like PSYCHO more than men. Also, while BaseSon claimed 11th place in our overall rankings, only 1% of women favored that brand.
And last, but not least, what everyone’s been waiting for—the top ten requested titles!
- Fate/Stay Night
- Majikoi series
- Baldr series
- Muv-Luv series
- Umineko no Naku Koro Ni
- Shin Koihime Musou
- Rance series
- White Album 2
- Little Busters
While very few titles at the top of this list came as a surprise, we were quite astonished to see titles already licensed by other publishers taking 19th and 26th place with a few hundred votes each. Maybe fans just trust us to do a quality job on the titles they love?