View Full Version : Is Nippon Ichi Software Going to Go out of Business?

06-18-2019, 12:48 AM
Nippon Ichi Software reportedly unable to pay staff after Disgaea RPG teething problems
Japanese developer issues warrant to sell stock at reduced price
Haydn Taylor
Staff Writer
Monday 20th May 2019

Nippon Ichi Software is reportedly unable to pay staff after being forced to remove mobile title Disgaea RPG from service.

According to Japanese site Ha-Navi (via Google translate), the developer has issued a warrant to shift stock at a reduced price of 90% to Daiwa Capital in order to raise emergency capital.

Launched on March 19, and developed in collaboration with Sony subsidiary ForwardWorks, Disgaea RPG has required long-term maintenance following multiple technical issues.

The game was taken offline in April for maintenance and, at the time of writing, is still down.

All play data before March 31 has been reset, and consumers are encouraged to request a refund for any items purchased before that date.

Source: https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2019-05-20-nippon-ichi-software-reportedly-unable-to-pay-staff-after-disgaea-rpg-teething-problems

Is Nippon Ichi Software not long for this world? Sure, these new problems echo the company's problems which they had back in 2008 - 2011. Back then people did not respond well to Disgaea 3 and how its PlayStation 3 graphics looked too similar to Disgaea 2's graphics on the PlayStation 2 and complained about the quality of the game. NIS responded by vowing to improve and betting the company's future on Disgaea 4, revamping the graphics to be higher resolution and making the game higher quality in all regards. This proved to be a successful strategy as Disgaea 4 sold very well and revived the company.

However, times have changed. NIS is having trouble adapting to the modern world and tactics of "mobile is all-important," "make your apps run on all current iOS and Android devices," "games 'have to' be free-to-play," "make your money on in-app purchases," and "port everything to run on everything else."

People were upset about how Nippon Ichi Software and NIS America handled the PC launch of "Disgaea 5 Complete." The game lacked all multi-player features which had been advertised for PC despite them being present in the PS4 and Switch ports. NIS America sold the game without these features on PC for a week before finally releasing a public statement which told everyone that they were never going to add the missing multi-player features to the game for technical reasons. This caused many people who bought Disgaea 5 Complete for Steam based on the promise of the inclusion of online features to feel like they had been duped by NISA.

Now we have these launching pains with Disgaea RPG, the Android and iOS free-to-play online multi-player Disgaea game. I mean, NIS can't even pay their own staff members, they're selling their stock at reduced prices, they are taking out high-interest business loans, and they are encouraging customers to ask Google for refunds for their in-app purchases. If all this is happening, then it really doesn't seem like they are going to be able to survive until Disgaea RPG is supposed to relaunch in several more months during either this September or later.

What are your thoughts about all this?

06-18-2019, 02:34 AM
I'll resist the "Use Reincarnation" joke for the time being. I will snark about how a company that made their flagship game and name revolve around intricate, complex patterns to make really flashy high numbers seems to forget that you have all the pieces in place, and that it's usually more effective to have to have those pieces each do one thing really well.

NIS has been skating in proximity on the edge to one degree or another for a very long time. While they seem to have a fairly passionate fanbase that devours just about anything with the word "Disgaea" in it, that fanbase has also been relatively small. It's not tiny; just about every gamer I know IRL has at least one NIS title in their library. But now I'm wondering if they put all their eggs in one basket. Has NIS made any releases in the current gen that wasn't Disgaea? Did they even bother to do a port of their games from PS2 that wasn't a Disgaea? Even back then they were making were making other IPs, even if they were spinoffs or somehow related.

While I do think the company itself might survive in some form, I don't know if it'll be the same kind of company. They got used to doing their own thing, which got them a niche. Now they've tried to embrace the modern trend of mobile free-to-play madness, plus spreading their code people way too thin trying to make their stuff run on everything like all the other fools in the industry. But if they aren't big enough to handle a botched launch of a mobile game, and not diversified enough to at least have something else in the wings to generate something resembling revenue, then I guess their overlords don't have their crap together anymore.

06-18-2019, 08:07 AM
I hope not. While I don't care about them much as a Japanese developer, outside of the Marl Kingdom franchise, which they haven't touched in a good decade, their US localization branch is pretty prolific and significant in terms of localizations of niche Japanese games. They've made many mistakes with their localizations, and I've been frustrated with them plenty of times, but I would still be sad to see all those games just not getting localized at all. It could be a boon to the likes of Aksys, XSEED, PQube, etc., but I don't think they could pick up all the slack. And I'd also worry about those localizers passing on more niche projects if they're overloaded with more popular games that NISA would otherwise be localizing. For example, I'd hate to see Aksys do fewer otome games because they're too busy localizing Falcom stuff.