Doujin soft

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Doujin soft (同人ソフト, dōjin sofuto), also called doujin games (同人ゲーム), are video games created by Japanese hobbyists or hobbyist groups (referred to as "circles"), more for fun than for profit; essentially, the Japanese equivalent of independent video games or fangames. Doujin soft is considered part of doujin katsudou, for which it accounts for 5% of all doujin works altogether (as of 2015).[1]

Doujin soft began with microcomputers in Japan, and spread to platforms such as the MSX and X68000. Since the 90's, however, they have primarily been exclusive to Windows-based PCs. In recent years, more doujin games have been released on mobile platforms.[citation needed] Though the nature of doujin games mean that they traditionally were not made available on gaming consoles, a few notable exceptions also existed for the Dreamcast, on which homebrew development was popular.[citation needed] Additionally, more doujin games have been made available as downloads on gaming consoles in recent years.[2]

Like fangames, doujin soft frequently use characters from existing games, anime, or manga ("niji sousaku"). These unauthorized uses of characters are generally ignored and accepted by the copyright holders, and many copyright holders also issue guidelines stating that they allow niji sousaku as long as their guidelines are adhered to. There are also many doujin soft titles which are completely original. While there are no statistics on the ratio of niji sousaku to original titles for doujin soft specifically, as of 2015 75% of doujin altogether (including doujin soft) was niji sousaku. [3]

Most doujin soft sales occur at doujin sokubaikai such as Comiket, with several that deal with doujin soft exclusively such as Freedom Game (which further only allows games distributed for free)[4] and Digital Games Expo.[5] There is also a growing number of specialized internet sites that sell doujin soft. Additionally, more doujin games have been sold as downloads on consoles and PC stores such as Steam in recent years, through publishers such as Mediascape picking them up.[6]

Some titles sell well enough that their creators can make a full-time job out of what is typically an amateur hobby: For example TYPE-MOON and Higurashi When They Cry originally released games as doujin soft. One game, French-Bread's brawler Ragnarok Battle Offline, a homage/spoof of the MMORPG Ragnarok Online so impressed Gravity Corp., the original game's designers, that it has been given an official release outside Japan.

Doujin soft games typically do not get released outside Japan due to language barriers. Recently, independent Western developers have offered to help translate these games for release in other markets, with one of the first known successful examples being Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale, developed originally by EasyGameStation in 2007, and then localized and released by Carpe Fulgur in 2010 for English audiences, which had a modest success with over 300,000 units sold in these markets.[7][8][9] This approach has been used to bring other doujin soft games, particularly visual novels and dating sims, to the West.[10][11]

Notable doujin soft companies[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Comic Market Committee (November 4, 2015). "日本の創作を支える二次創作と草の根活動" (PDF). Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Comic Market Committee (November 4, 2015). "日本の創作を支える二次創作と草の根活動" (PDF). Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Alexander, Leigh (2011-01-03). "Carpe Fulghur Talks Sales Reality As Promos Lead Recettear Over 100,000 Units". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2011-01-03.
  8. ^ Webster, Andrew (2010-12-21). "Low prices, low expectations? Ars looks at indie game pricing". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
  9. ^ Meer, Alec (2011-01-17). "Post Mortem: Recettear". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
  10. ^ Riva, Celso (July 13, 2015). "Making and selling visual novels and dating sims". Gamasutra. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  11. ^ Sanchez, Miranda (June 6, 2014). "Hatoful Boyfriend Coming to US This Summer". IGN.

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