The ill founded notion that by excluding foreign fans the Japanese eroge industry can somehow cut itself off from the world, and that in doing this their own industry and politicians will be somehow be discouraged from banning their works seems to be spreading; now we hear that two additional sites have joined eroge developer Minori in token displays of xenophobia.
Visual Antenna provides news on the visual novel scene, but is not involved in development, so it is not really clear what they hope to achieve with restricting non-Japanese access to their site, and their presumably facetious message to the handful of foreign barbarians visiting their site is even more puzzling:
PLEASE PLAY THE GAME OF YOUR COUNTRY IF YOU PRAY FOR THE WORLD PEACE!:-)
Not a message which would likely be well received by the likes of Nintendo and Sony, nor by all the Japanese fans of western games…
New studio Yuzu Soft, responsible for EXE and a handful of other titles over the past few years, can’t even be bothered with an attempt at wit, and just gives a terse 403 to those falling foul of its GeoIP database:
You don’t have permission to access / on this server.
Of course, proxies have to contend with far more tenacious efforts at blocking access than the misdirected anger of visual novel developers, so it seems likely the only success these efforts will have is in allowing the companies to feel they are doing something, even if they are too cowardly to oppose their own politicians.
Likely it will remain the Japanese language which is the greatest impediment to international access…
Since the majority of visual novels enjoyed by international “fans” are probably pirated (although this is probably true of Japanese fans too, if we consider the very small sales totals involved in the industry), it seems unlikely the actual overseas availability of visual novels will be much affected.
The notion that foreign fans constitute a pack of parasites who do nothing to support developers whilst gleefully pirating their works, and then brazenly complain about a ban which threatens to cut off their supply of ISOs, is one of the major bones of contention amongst the admittedly frequently xenophobic Japanese fanbase.
This is perhaps not without foundation, even if the efforts of the visual novel industry to reach international markets have been rather lacklustre.
It is however another example of selective observation, as the huge Japanese P2P networks where these illicit copies circulate seem to serve as the primary source for overseas P2P networks, and it is hardly the case that there are no Japanese users of international networks…
It should of course be remembered that most eroge makers have remained silent and accessible to international users, so it remains to be seen whether these unwholesome displays of craven scapegoating will spread, or if instead the status quo will gradually reassert itself. The voices of Japanese fans are however far less circumspect.
Once again, it seems all the Japanese otaku community can think to do is blame foreigners, even when it is their own politicians, media, and even industry which is happily trampling the rights of the minority.