How much galge is there anyway?

By bluemist on August 21st, 2007


I think it’s hard to imagine that an industry with a very limited number of target markets can sustain itself. I’m talking about this whole otaku industry. Maybe let’s make it a little more specific… the bishoujo/galge/eroge industry. How, I mean… HOW in the world do the people who work in this industry ‘survive’?

Look at the main Getchu page (warning: NSFW) for PC games of this kind… no less than 50 “new” releases within the next few months. Who buys all those crap? Do they sell well? I bet some non-famous PC soft company releasing their whatever-the-name second rate eroge would only sell a few thousand of those things. This industry is so enclosed, so secret, and so freaking small as compared to the mainstream, people and companies who can’t make it big may be forced to close down quickly.

Was there ever a million-selling bishoujo game? If there are a million dedicated ‘game’ otakus around Japan, and probably a million more outside, chances of all of them buying the same bishoujo game are grim. I would bet they’ll have different facets of fetishes in that one single game can’t cater to them all. Currently maybe Fate/stay Night is hot property, but I saw a PS2 sales ranking list and I don’t think the game exceeded 200000 units of sales, correct me if I’m wrong.

And yet there are so MANY of them. Back when I was starting to like this genre I only know the handful from the big-name companies like Key, Leaf, Circus among others. Big-name scale is relative, because I know the likes of them can’t even compete with even second-rate crappy mainstream PC game companies like, er… Popcap Games? So much time and effort is being made towards these games, and yet the return-of-investment may be so little. I’m astounded by the passion they put into making games that are only played by a handful of people.

Or maybe it’s because they are really ‘cheap’ to produce? I wouldn’t know much really, but I would imagine the only expenses you have in producing game CG are paper, drawing materials, and a computer or two. Now, to make music you can merely synthesize from your PC or do real recordings using basic consumer market audio recorders. Game programming seems non-existent already. They probably have mastered the basic craft of ShowPicture() and Text() with Audio() in the background. It’s a very cheap type of game to make, as I would assume. Of course, the creativity is where the bulk of the efforts lie.

With so much bishoujo games around, I think I can assume by now that this genre has already delved on just about ANYTHING you can think of. Most of which have a love story of course, which is what most of them otakus want. So the game makers try to think of any possible situation, setting, plot and cute girl characters, mix them up together… and BAM! Bishoujo game. Simple. I also think they’ve exhausted every single facet of feminism in the millions of bishoujo characters they have created. Mix hair color, vital statistics and costume styles with whatever characterization (tsundere, girl-next-door, imouto-chara, onee-chan chara) they want… BAM! Bishoujo game character. Hell, mix them all up! This small loli meganekko girl who transforms into a super-tsundere-mahou-shoujo who wears meido fuku and works at this small joint in Akihabara trying to make a living because her imouto is sick in the hospital and so she falls in love with the dorky male lead (as they all are) and they have sexy time together obviously (enter HCG here) and then the epilogue where her imouto is well already and becomes her successor to the super-mahou-shoujo thing except that the imouto is actually a yandere. Did I just create a basic eroge plot over there?

In any case, there’s just so many of them that it’s really hard to keep track of the good ones. Usually I would rely on the usual big-names and stuff, but lately the quality of their works is running low. Makes me wonder if someday they have a bubble to burst in this industry. With so many games with so few people playing it, would there come a time where it would just crumble on itself? When creativity wears out, or sales fall down and those second-tier companies get really broke. It’s entirely possible with such a small scope such as this. I hope it wouldn’t though. I want more of those colorful bishoujos.


This is a Summer of Bishoujo 3 feature


Posted By: ひろおき On: August 21, 2007 At: 11:53 am


Posted By: suguru On: August 21, 2007 At: 1:16 pm

Good post–that reminds me about an author of Western novels back when those were popular in the 50s and 60s–he supposedly had three lists, for bad guy, damsel in distress, and setting, and every time he went to write a new book he just set the three lists next to each other, drew a line, and whatever it touched was his basic plot…something similar would probably work well for bishoujo game developers…

Posted By: Moonlight Bomber On: August 22, 2007 At: 10:30 am

As long as there will be new eroge fans, and as long as the wellspring of creativity doen’t dry out, I think the market will still survive.

And bluemist, you’re right in saying the ROI in eroge is pretty low… Spending much on the resources yet profiting a little…

Hmm… if a certain BG company will diversify its lineup, it might lose out the core otaku audience but gain the mainstream audience. Lose-lose or win-win?

(still dreaming about a collaboration game with Square Enix, Konami, Key, and Leaf working on a massive crossover RPG like Chaos Wars… and being exported and localized outside Japan…)

Posted By: Danny Choo On: August 29, 2007 At: 5:29 pm

The eroge industry makes more money than the idol industry. Looks like people prefer 2d girls ^^

Posted By: westbluef On: September 08, 2007 At: 6:49 pm

I think the reason why the number of eroge games are spontaneously large are because:

1. As you said, they’re very very cheap to make.
(I for one can make one without spending more than 100 pesos and mind you, I don’t have much knowledge on programming. The only thing I will really need is time.)

2.The next is really simple: They LOVE doing it. They wouldn’t mind taking a long time in making one just to show to the people what they made.
profit only comes 2nd. Although some do it for the profit but, these are the ones that give up in the end.

I hope that explains why they’re a lot of them in the market.

Posted By: liwedoji On: September 14, 2007 At: 5:52 pm

what are some names of some sites where you can buy a galge?

Posted By: boogiecat On: March 30, 2009 At: 9:05 pm

I doubt that this genre will fall,sure there are other companies involved in this industry that failed even though they had some known titles(KID which is the creator of Memories Off series but was later saved by Cyberfront and Neko Neko Soft which was the creator of Mizuiro which is a great title!)…

Actually this genre is still going,going and running strong,no wonder SNK Playmore also jumped in this genre with Days Of Memories series on the Nintendo DS!!


Posted By: C. B. On: June 16, 2010 At: 10:10 am

You are an ignorant moron if you think eroge are cheap to make. You have to pay voice actresses by the word, not to mention shelling out big bucks for every CG, especially if it’s by a famous artist.

There’s an article on Canned Dogs that goes into detail about the costs of eroge, and it’s not low-budget in the slightest.