June 16, 2009 8:00 PM | Eric Caoili
In an unusually honest staff post [English translation/mention here] published on Marvelous Entertainment's Japanese blog for Little King's Story, the Tokyo-based publisher says it feels like crying over low game sales.
The post specifically points to sales for Wii titles such as No More Heroes, Rune Factory Frontier, Oboromuramasa (Muramasa: The Demon Blade), Harvest Moon: Waku Waku Animal March (Harvest Moon: Animal Parade), and Arc Rise Fantasia, the last three of which aren't releasing stateside until later this year.
According to Marvelous, the studio tried its best to foster those games despite time constraints and limited budgets, but all of them shipped very disappointing numbers. The author (who I'm presuming is managing director and Harvest Moon creator Yasuhiro Wada) admits, "I truly have teary eyes. I feel like crying."
The post goes on to say that the company's games that sell are really selling well despite the current market, remarking that the low numbers for those underperforming releases could be due to Marvelous' own failings in promoting them.
The publisher then pleads with Japanese gamers who are interested in purchasing Little King’s Story to put in preorders for the real-time strategy Wii title, as retailers will not take their game for display in their shops if the amount of preorders remains low. The title already released under joint venture Rising Star Games in Europe last April, where it has received high marks from most reviewers, and will ship under Xseed and Marvelous Entertainment USA in North America on July 21st.
Gaming blog Canned Dogs, which reported on the staff blog post, also translated details from Marvelous' recent annual report that includes a Q&A section describing the company's troubles with European price protection schemes:
Q: The effects of the economic downturn is causing retailers to run low on funds and causing game prices to drop. How does your company plan to deal with these risks?
A: 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.