Jonoridge posted this at vgamerz.com. Nothing I disagree with here.
Jonoridge: (the) Visual Novel genre still hasn’t really expanded outside of Japan.
There are two reasons for this I believe; one being that many people in the West don’t see them as real video games because of the emphasis on text to tell a story and the player having very little interaction. The other reason… is the art which uses a manga/anime style which limits their appeal immediately to those who actually like that style. However there has been a few VNs that have used real actors and succeeded.
I think there must have been a couple on smartphones or galake, but the only one I can think of is 428: Fuusa Sareta Shibuya de by Chunsoft, which didn’t sell that well.
Jonoridge: I believe if Visual Novels are to break into the Western market (and they should because they offer a different style of game that currently isn’t out over here), a strong emphasis on story and branching story paths, something that isn’t seen very often in video games. They need to use a more gritty art style, one that a Western audience would be more likely to embrace. The only risk here is that there’s currently no market for them and the change might be received negatively in Japan where the market actually is.
They are marketing ‘The Night of the Kamaitachi’ to Kindle users (can’t find reference, so I have no idea what happened to that idea). Overdrive created Go! Go! Nippon! ~My First Trip to Japan~ that was specifically aimed at Westerners. And there has been an surge of titles specifically targeted at Android/iOS that has got ‘translation’ in hope of luring Westerners. Particularly otome-games. There’s all these browser-run visual novels springing up all over the place (have u seen this?). Not just OELVN, the Japanese are thinking the same thing. Not to forget Katawa Shoujo created a whole new market to explore. Whatever innovations that are coming up next, I have a feeling it won’t be from established industry players. It will be from the informal economy.