One of the niche categories of games that are very popular in Japan are the Otome games. They’re essentially dating simulators geared toward the female gaming audience. It’s the equivalent of all the fan-service visual novels and dating simulators geared toward male gamers. However, Otome games haven’t been quite so popular, or marketed much in the West. XSeed Games might change that if there’s enough demand.
Speaking in an interview with GOG.com, XSeed Games rep Ken Barry explained that while Otome games have generally been niche and more-so popular in Japan, they could try bringing some West if market demand is high enough…
“We always thought the “otome” genre geared toward female players that often involves developing a romantic relationship with one of the many male characters would be difficult, but we’re not quite so sure anymore. We continue to get fan requests for this kind of game, so it’s one that we wouldn’t mind testing out in the future at some point to see if there really is a market for it or not.”
Some Otome games aimed at the female gaming audience have been launched on Steam. However, the titles haven’t been the most popular. The free Otome game Seduce Me managed to rack up 230,000 downloads, but the paid one, Seduce Me 2, only managed 9,000 sales.
It’s a difficult market to break into and there’s no real easy way to get the word out to the kind of gamers who might be interested in the title, unless of course it’s advertised on Tumblr.
The Otome market is a tough market to crack. It’s mostly aimed at female gamers who are usually classified as casuals, and casuals don’t usually visit enthusiast gaming websites where the Otome titles might be advertised.
The other issue a company like XSeed would have to deal with is that larger gaming websites – like Polygon and Kotaku – could just as well help them get the word out as they could diminish interest by attacking the games for not being politically correct or “progressive” enough.
It makes sense why XSeed would be leery about porting over very niche games that could be labeled as “problematic” by Western media.
Marvelous Entertainment, XSeed’s parent company, has released Otome games in the past for various platforms, but they’ve all been relegated to being released in Asia. But who knows? Maybe we’ll see more Otome games make their way westward if enough gamers demand them.