News Article

Marvelous Sad Over Poor Sales

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

Overseas price cuts hitting Japanese publisher hard; company "feels like crying."

Fact: The world economy is in dire straits. Do you have any money? I don't have any money. Marvelous Entertainment, publishers of the upcoming Little King's Story and Muramasa: The Demon Blade as well as the Harvest Moon series, No More Heroes and Rune Factory Frontier, could use some more money, too.

A post over at Marvelous' staff blog for Little King's Story (via GameSetWatch) has the writer, presumed to be managing director and Harvest Moon-creator Yasuhiro Wada, spilling their guts on the state of their games' sales in Japan.

I truly have teary eyes. I feel like crying.

The post also mentions that their games that are selling are doing so quite well, and points out that marketing could be to blame for underperforming titles. While otaku-centric, cel-shaded, Feudal Japan-focused or farm-simulator games have their fair share of fun, you'd be hard-pressed to call them mainstream in the West (although Harvest Moon seems to flirt with that line, and No More Heroes does its damnedest to), where the company is also seeing blows to sales.

We have not seen much of the effects of the economic downturn in Japan, but we have been affected greatly overseas. Especially in Europe, where the retailers drop prices without informing the maker. And they would claim the price difference from the maker later, almost as if that is the way that everything is supposed work. We’re already charging extra to cover costs for the price protection, but past late last year the prices have dropped below what can be covered by the amount, badly affecting the profits for our subsidiary in Britain. For the current financial year, we’re starting to take more money to compensate for price protection.

Sounds like someone could use a great big pre-order hug.


From the web

User Comments (49)



Damo said:

"...our subsidiary in Britain"

That's Rising Star, I believe. Crap, hope those guys don't tank.



James said:

If Rising Star go under, or have to put out a cutdown release schedule, I'll be really disappointed - those guys do awesome work.

If that really is Mr Wada crying, I'm sending him a great big hug from a huge fan of Marvellous/Rising Star/Harvest Moon. Everything's going to be OK, Mr Wada!

Incidentally, this just doubles my conviction that everybody in the US should go out and buy Little King's Story when it's released. It's still the best game on Wii!



motang said:

I did my part, I bought No More Heroes, plan on buying Rune Factory soon.



Mqblank said:

Little Kings Story is £16.99 at (in the UK) and I'm hoping if I do buy it from there that they don't lose money on it! I bought No More Heroes on day 1 and I intend to do the same for NMH2 and Muramasa.



Starwolf_UK said:

Little Kings Story is £16.99 at (in the UK) and I'm hoping if I do buy it from there that they don't lose money on it!
If that is how much it sells for they've already lost. What happens is Zavvi/TheHut/everyone expects Rising Star Games to make up the difference between RRP and what they have chosen to sell if for.

The blogger is right when saying price protection shouldn't work like that. It should work like publisher x is giving distributor y some money. In return distributor y will lower the price of game z. Given how uniform price cuts of SEGA titles tend to be I assume that is how SEGA does it.

As for me. It has just made me feel like the bad guy in all this If I buy at full price and the game falls in price, I feel i've wasted my money and if I buy at a cut price the publisher may be taking the brunt of it unwillingly. I'm really confused at what I should be doing, if anything.



Popyman said:

I bought No More Heroes last week (Wal-Mart having something cool? Gasp!) and I'll be buying Little King's Story and The Demon Blade sometime, so high five Marvelous!



Knux said:

I will be buying Little King's Story and Murasama when they come out,so do not fret Marvelous!



Rum_Rapture said:

I am quite happy to join the "buy Little King's Story!" bandwagon.

Hey guys, guys guys, you should totally buy Little King's Story when it's released where you live. It's awesome! And in exchange, give us a European release date for Rune Factory: Frontier. Thank you very much!



Twilight_Crow said:

I'm sorry for you Mervelous, you make some great games, but I have my own financial problems to deal with, which is very sad, no Little King's Story nor Muramasa for me .



Larkin said:

Damn Marvelous make some great games I have No More Heroes and Little King Story and I love them both



KDR_11k said:

Oh! LKS! I completely forgot about that and picked up NPC Pikmin 2 instead (never played Pikmin 2 before).



Machu said:

I bought my copy of Little King's Story for £34.99. In terms of quality and content its worth twice that! Truly Marvelous!

Please please America, BUY THIS!



Pahvi said:

Hmh. I bought No More Heroes preowned (since I didn't expect to like it despite my friends' opinions and so far my opinion hasn't changed) so no money for Marvelous. I had been waiting for Little King's Story's price to come down a bit before buying it... well, so much for that. I expect that I'll like LKS much more than NMH.



James said:

@Machu - if we had a "Comment of the Month" award, I'd give it to you. In fact, we don't have such an award, but now we do. And it's yours!

I haven't played mine for a week because I'm right at the end and don't want it to be over!



Machu said:

Dude, tell me about it, I had a sneaky look at the final fight, and after picking my jaw off the flaw and scratching my head, I got pwn'd!
Now I'm just trying to please the princess' Epic!

TY for the award btw, I shall wear it with pride. Right, I'm off to Alpoko.



wanderlustwarrior said:

I'll be buying Muramasa, and if I had the money to buy a second copy of NMH, I would, but I don't. Good luck, Marvelous



Cthuloops said:

I'm buying Muramasa and I already bought NMH, so I'm set. Are they publishing the 2nd NMH? If so, then they'll get my money for that too.



Linkuini said:

I was already drooling over Muramasa, but if this is the story, maybe I should give some real consideration to Little King's Story. Oog,,, but I want Klonoa, too. What a terrible time for an economic recession!



Wiiloveit said:

Well, it serve's them right for releasing, good original games. I mean, come on: who do they think they are? Certainly not Popcorn Arcade, that's for sure. I dunno... some developers will never learn, will they?



WolfRamHeart said:

This story makes me sad but I already have my copy of Little King's Story paid off plus I'm definitely buying Muramasa and Arc Rise Fantasia! Hey everyone go buy Rune Factory: Frontier because its another great game from Marvelous!



greyelephant said:

Demon Blade and Little Kings Story both will be added to my collection when they arrive here in the states. With so many of us already on board, it's just a matter of spreading the word.



odd69 said:

im buying little kings story and no more heroes 2. so they will have my support.



Objection said:

I have NMH (liked it a lot) and plan to get Muramasa, NMH2, and Arc Rise when they release. I might even pick up LKS this summer, which I wasn't planning to do.



Outrunner said:

None of these games seem like a must-buy for me. I have Pikmin 1 and 2 and just don't think I need LKS. Sorry about the money troubles though.



James said:

Nooooooooooooooo! LKS is so much more than Pikmin - it's got bags of humour, style, charm, love, grandeur and fantastic music. I like Pikmin, I really do, but compared to Little King's Story it's nothing special.

Looking forward to Rune Factory: Frontier, too. Seems Nintendo published HM: Island of Happiness whereas Rising Star did Rune Factory - I guess Nintendo aren't interested in the "offbeat" HM adventures. More fool them!



jhuhn said:

I guess Fresh Pretty Cure DVDs aren't good enough to make high sales for Marvelous Entertainment. It should have also been on in the US and not just Japan.



Rum_Rapture said:

@Outrunner: Prosody is right, Little King's Story is much more than that. It's similar in the whole controlling your troops thing, but the atmosphere, your goals, the humour, characters, it's so different to Pikmin, it really is! If you enjoy Pikmin then you really must give it a go.



Egg_miester said:

its a shame when good company's start to go down, then a company can make a generic shooter with hd graphics and there sells are high, i guess that shows on how the west craves mindless violence



Sean_Aaron said:

These guys are probably my favourite publishers in the world right now. Really quality titles across a broad genre range. I passed on No More Heroes not realising its brilliance. The price of that game crashed through the floor more rapidly than other games that have been out for longer. I got my copy used, but the sequel will be a day one purchase for me.

I also did a pre-order for Little King's Story and will do so for Muramasa and Arc Rise Fantasia (when they get listed on GAME's site for pre-ordering!).

I'm not sure what the connection is with Rising Star, because I'm pretty sure NMH2 is being published by Ubisoft, isn't it?

I cannot understand how retailers get to pull stuff like that really; I'd say that either Marvelous needs new contracts (which they probably don't have the leverage for) or new distribution channels. Other than Little King's Story -- which was placed prominently in GAME, Tesco and Sainsbury's -- their other titles aren't mainstream and probably could do okay if they just went with online.



Kim_Jong-Il said:

That's sad. If you're Reading this Mr. Wada, I bought LKS about a week or so ago and I think it's up there with Nintendo's best. It would be my second favourite Wii game after Okami.



Starwolf_UK said:

I'm not sure what the connection is with Rising Star, because I'm pretty sure NMH2 is being published by Ubisoft, isn't it?
Ubisoft publishes No More Heroes in North America while Rising Star Games publishes it in Europe and Australia.

@Egg miester. You mention that but GRIN have put out a few of those this year and they are really starting to pay the price. Basically Wanted and Terminator Salvation fall into the generic cover shooter framework. They also put out Bionic Commando...a game with a budget of $20 million (budget is a large problem with HD gaming). Their sales for the two weeks it was out in May were 27,000 for Bionic Commando and 42,000 for Terminator Salvation. I hear they are laying quite a few staff off.



citizenerased said:

It's not like Marvelous is getting anything from people who rent the game or buy the game second handed... To them it's the same as people downloading it. But I agree on piracy being bad as well, obviously.



Wiiloveit said:

@tealovertoma: Usuallly, people that rent games do so because they haven't the money to buy the whole thing, genius. I'm sure that those who rent and enjoy the games will buy the full ones if they wish and have the money, and if they don't, they can always let others know about how good the game is, and possibly help sales that way too.



citizenerased said:

Alternatively you could just buy one game instead of renting a few. Or, get a job, rob a bank, whatever. And most people I know who rent games do it because they can finish a game in a weekend. And then they go binge drinking.
Say what you want but the people renting games and buying 2nd hand games are helping to destroy the video game industry =/ Or at the very least they don't do anything to contribute to it.



Objection said:

@tealovertoma-I partially agree. I have nothing against (and I also often do) buying used games if new copies are hard/impossible to find, such as older titles from last or this generation,



Kim_Jong-Il said:

@ Tealovertoma
If so, then why do game publishers license their games to rental places. You are aware they get like $200 per copy or a royalty from the video store, and as previously mentioned the publisher has to give permission to the rental place for them to do it. Piracy on the other hand....



citizenerased said:

I have nothing against these rental places, of course, it's purely the ones doing it without giving developers their share.
And of course I agree with buying 2nd hand games if you can't find new ones everywhere - a few years after release it's practically impossible to find new copies.
Not to mention it's also Rising Star's fault for the pathetic distibution of titles like Little King's Story =/ you can't really expect to sell a game if you can only find it online...



Sean_Aaron said:

@tealovertoma: what's wrong with the distribution of Little King's Story? Every GAME story in the Glasgow are has multiple copies; in fact before it was released they had a whole shelf full of display boxes in the Sauchiehall store with a sign telling folk to pre-order it. Likewise the Tesco in Maryhill (of all places) had it in their Chart section for a long time.

What does seem to have been missing is any marketing beyond the great video tour provided by that Rising Star employee that convinced me to put in a pre-order (really good video that was, great job guys; that fellow should do more vids for their games). LKS has great cross-over potential -- I see a lot of activity on forums about MySims Kingdom, so it could definitely appeal to a wide audience.



Pahvi said:

One argument I've seen for having preowned games is that spending money for a new game when you turn in an older one isn't as much of a hurdle. I wouldn't know, since I sold my la(te)st console games with my Megadrive over a decade ago. Still, GameStop's preowned game pricing doesn't give much reason to go for used games instead of new ones if the game is a new one.

We'll see how PSP Go performs and how high their games are priced, since as far as I know that system has no used game market at all.



Nero said:

I'll buy Muramasa in 200WheneverItComesOutInEurope and I've also bought quite a few games from these people, so no complaining to me pls.

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