Japanese publisher Marvelous Entertainment (Harvest Moon) has focused heavily on Wii and PSP releases in 2009, but the company has found a considerable difference in its success on the two platforms: nearly all of its PSP games this year were profitable, while the opposite was true for Wii.
According to data presented in a company earnings conference and reported by Siliconera, four out of the company's five PSP releases in the first fiscal half proved to be profitable ventures, but three out of the company's four Wii games released during the same period lost money.
Wii games seemed to span a wider range of unit sales, perhaps making sales projections on the platform more difficult. The well-reviewed Little King's Story for Wii sold 26,000 units in Japan, 37,000 units in North America, and 67,000 in Europe -- the latter figure being more than the previous two territories combined. Muramasa: The Demon Blade, on the other hand, saw better Japanese reception with 47,000 units sold.
PSP games, on the other hand, seemed to garner more solid sales overall: Hitman Reborn! Battle Arena 2 moved 41,000 units and Half-Minute Hero sold 70,000, helped by a robust Japanese PSP game market.
Perhaps more importantly, however, development budgets on the system were considerably lower, reducing the company's break-even sales threshold, and more of the PSP games came from established franchises. In some cases, the games were essentially updated versions of previous releases.
Marvelous' upcoming schedule features a more diverse platform list, including Access Games' Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 title Rainy Woods. The company noted in its financial report that it is refraining from entering the Japanese downloadable console game arena until that market shows improvement.
Marvelous also mentioned that it has had to deal with significant QA costs during development, with 10 percent of each project's budget allocated to debugging. The company has now hired an external firm to handle that aspect of development.