Gamasutra is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
July 4, 2022
arrowPress Releases
If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


What Do People Enjoy in pay-to-play Otome Games?

by Yongcheng Liu on 05/22/22 10:45:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Unlike other exciting action games, most pay-to-play otome games are in the form of text adventure, even some have been simplified to "audio books". It seems to be more accurate to describe this kind of gaming experience as "reading e-books" than "playing games". However, even though the gaming system has been simplified to an e-book, and this type of game has passed its prime time around 2011, otome games are still being sold steadily. There are bound to question: "Why would these players spend $100 on a game that resembles an e-book?" In this article, I will analyze the purchase factors of players in buying otome games.


Beautiful graphics

Compared to other games, single-player otome games usually contain higher quality character appearance designs, with delicate and exquisite graphics. Players tend to pay attention to the NPC characters in the game, from hair to shoes, from the jacket to accessories. Whether it's western fantasy style, steampunk, or historical style, these otome games tend to be well-drawn with handsome characters. The pay-to-play games usually create a complete gaming world for players, and every character inside will meet the aesthetic fantasies of woman players in general, representing the highest aesthetic level. In addition, many players also have their own requirements for the exquisiteness of the UI design in games: the color match should be perfect, and the text should be well-designed and easy to read.

Many developers also understand this demand of the players and have made their efforts on the illustrations and graphics. Many big firms have even trained artists for otome games.

   In the fantasy-style game Cendrillon palikA and vampire-themed game DIABOLIK LOVER: all characters are designed to be good-looking.


The UI in Cendrillon palikA makes use of the color pink and purple, which is welcomed by players.


Amazing voice actors

In addition to the graphics, another feature of the otome games is the voice system. In the absence of gameplay, the voice acting is one important part of the gaming experience for players, so the current voice actor market for otome games is becoming more and more competitive. Players want that the voice fit the character itself, but also that this voice actor needs to have a certain level of popularity and achievement in the industry.


Unlike the voice actors in the Chinese market, who all have beautiful voices consistently, Japanese male voice actors tend to have more vocal interpretations because of the large number and the different preferences of players. Whether it's a teenager, a mysterious man, or a noble royal, you'll always find a well-known voice actor to work with that fits the characteristic. Within the game, the fitting voice can bring players a more immersive feeling.

The voice actors in otome games usually have a significant popularity, some of which may have millions of followers.



The characters that meet their own aesthetic

The number of characters you can date in otome games is not very large, generally remaining at about 6. But the characters are often individual and distinctive. For example, a game will never appear with two presidents. Naughty, confident, natural, and other characteristics will often be reasonably shaped, players will always find their favorite one in the game. Many game developers will even release sequels, which will contain more characters, to attract fans of those undateable NPC in this game to buy the game.

              In Psychedelica of Black Butterfly, the characters are diverse from each other.


Wonderful Script

The script is the half foundation of the pay-to-play otome games. With the assistance of voice acting and art design, the script needs to provide the player with a unique world. Otome games often have a huge amount of text, requiring players to spend 50 hours for a full pass. A lot of otome games hire professional light novel writers or professional writers to shape the script, and the game will have different reflections because of the personal style of writers. There are otome games like Girl's Side which have scripts closer to life, but there are fantasy-style scripts with vampire families or Snow White dark fairy tales. Whether you are a fan of the realistic story or those who love fairy tales and legends, you can have fun when experiencing otome games.

It is because otome games have been infinitely close to the e-book, the script will largely determine the player's experience. If a game has a terrible script, such as unclear logic, then players will give it bad reviews. On the contrary, a game with a reasonable and attractive script in a crowd of beautiful characters will often become a classic in the hearts of players.


Player Community

Around 2010, the main forum [OtomeDream] has a large number of fans of otome games. The forum has a very advanced and detailed classification system and all-age elements; in addition to game resources, the forum also has players' thoughts and sharings and the latest event information, so it can be said that if you get the membership of [OtomeDream], you can get the most advanced information of Japanese otome games. Because the server of the website can only support requests from a certain number of people, the registration to become a member of [OtomeDream] requires layers of screening and examination, and being rejected is also common.

Players will make friends spontaneously through Twitter, Weibo, or other social media. Only when they really experience the game will they have common topics and maintain a relationship. Therefore, under the influence of this subculture within a group of people, players will buy the game, play the game, pass the game, and communicate and interact with fellow players.


The smooth reading experience brought by pay-to-play

Unlike free-to-play mobile games, pay-to-play otome games mostly do not charge players after buying the game, waiting to level up to read the plot, which is common in mobile games, is unusual in pay-to-play games. Players can reasonably schedule to read their favorite story in one sitting. Many players may feel disturbed by waiting for the plot which is bound to the player's level in mobile games. While waiting for the upgrade, players may have forgotten the content of the previous chapter, thus interfering with the immersion experience. And the smooth reading experience is also the reason why players will choose to buy these pay-to-play otome games.


Related Jobs

Treyarch — Playa Vista, California, United States

Tools Engineer - Treyarch
Treyarch — Playa Vista, California, United States

Audio Engineer - Treyarch
Build a Rocket Boy Games
Build a Rocket Boy Games — Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Lead Physics Programmer
Build a Rocket Boy Games
Build a Rocket Boy Games — Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Lead UI Programmer

Loading Comments

loader image