Here's some unfortunate news. Eurogamer reports that Japanese developer CAVE is switching up its strategy following some disappointing earnings from the first half of their fiscal year, which for them starts on the first of June. As a result, they've downgraded their forecasts for the rest of the year, which runs until the end of May, and have reportedly put some of their current titles on hold to allocate more resources into "social games", according to the company's recently released earnings report summarized in English by Andriasang.

Now, us iOS gamers associate CAVE with their awesome App Store shooters like Bug Princess [$4.99/Lite], Dodonpachi Resurrection [$7.99/Lite], and Deathsmiles [$11.99/Lite]. I don't really like thinking about the developer of some of the most hardcore games around suddenly switching gears to the surging social/casual games space.

However, CAVE has a separate division focused on their mobile titles and I would imagine they are reasonably pleased with the performance of their games on iOS and Android. I think the problem lies more in getting people to buy a somewhat niche product like a bullet hell shooter on the home consoles for $60 or more. Their earnings report indicates that in the face of a stagnant retail gaming market, retailers are more hesitant to buy and stock as many games as CAVE had projected them to.

It's not indicated which projects are being put on hold, and hopefully we'll see CAVE continuing to bring their fantastic library of shooters to iOS, as well as more original titles like Mushihimesama Bug Panic [$6.99/Lite]. It will be interesting to see what direction CAVE moves in both the mobile and console space in 2012, and we'll definitely be keeping our eye out for any new developments.

[Via Eurogamer and Andriasang]

  • Anonymous

    This is mighty grim news 

  • Anonymous

    well it seems like the performance of ios titles is not that great too, at least from looking at amount of players in gc for all of their games.

    • http://twitter.com/Flormois Frédéric Lormois

      I'm sure they are selling lot of game on iOS. The bad parformance are on HD console. Nobody want to pay 40 or 60 dollar for a shooter today. This is THE real problem for Case, not iOS results...

      • Anonymous

        Millions of people pay 60 dollars for the SAME shooter every year.  Unless you meant 2D shooters, in which case I'm inclined to agree with you.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CKBNMJGLGCBQOSH2BM264QIHLI Bridget

        Exactly.

        And I love the part where many people complain about shmups being "repetetive" or some crap like that, but then will go play the same damn map on Halo or Call of Whatevers about 294670236476 times in a row online.

        I'd much rather pay a pile of money for a good shmup, than YET ANOTHER cookie-cutter FPS.

        Hell, I'm usually willing to part with 70 or 80 dollars (or more!) to import one of these console shmups.

  • Anonymous

    I can understand that this would largely apply to development of entirely new games, especially ones with high development costs like the console market. I just hope that they'll still have the funding to port more of their existing classic titles to iOS.

  • Anonymous

    This is why we don't have a single big game on iOS; not a single AAA title to make an example what these devices are capable of. And the freemium shit makes sure this won't change either. If I was a gamer alone, I would be so disapponted for buying a 700$ device.

    • Anonymous

      What kind of idiot would buy a iPhone/iPod Touch as a gaming device only.

      • Anonymous

        Millions buy phone for games. Who are you to call them idiots? They have been told that mobile gaming makes hand consoles obsolete.

        Perhaps the manufacturers could make even one AAA game them selves to justify the lobbying. I expected that from MS, but it has been the worst what comes to games.

      • Anonymous

        Not really, those millions buy iPhones for a great phone that does other things not just a game device.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        Can you post some sources?

      • Adams Immersive

        The same cannot be said of an iPod Touch. I know plenty of people who game far more than they listen to mobile music. And I know plenty of people who game FAR more than ever before after getting an iPhone, iPod or iPad. I can also think of tons of games that are best played on an iPad, and no other way would be as good—and gaming is the #1 use I have, measured in hours, for both my iPad and iPhone. None of us in those situations are idiots :)

      • Anonymous

        If they bought it just for phone, a 200$ N8, that has better camera, better phone, far better battery life among many other things, would have sold 1000*better. iPhone isn't THAT great phone.

      • Anonymous

        Better phone?! Okay now I know you are trolling. The N8 does have a best in class camera censor true. To quote the verge, that makes it a point and shoot camera with 3G radios. But have you actually used an N8? The software absolutely sucks. Everyday I get people coming into store desperate to upgrade their contracts and get rid of that clunky OS, to the degree they are sworn off Nokias for life.

      • Anonymous

        The Phone = calls. Menus aren't a phone, and they are not a problem to everyone. The call quality slump was noticeable, when I moved into iPhones, in both ends of the call. I hear N8's software is getting better too, but I haven't seen the newest OS yet.

  • Anonymous

    I'll be honest, it's their pricing that puts me off buying their games. There is hardly any other game which is price pointed like theirs and I just can't get myself to press the 'buy app' button when the rest and best of iOS gaming is $2.99 and below. If they released their games at $2.99 I would buy at an instant as I am sure a lot of people would. They cannot expect on a device where almost all games are sub $2.99 that they would make a bundle on a shmup at almost 8 dollars. That said I paid a packet for the Saturn version of one of their most famous games but that was the norm ... on iOS it is not.   

    • Anonymous

      Exactly, it's not like they wouldn't have made much more if the price was lower. Besides, their games only appeal to a small group of gamers to begin with so why charge so much for games that only hardcore fans of the genre will buy.

      • michael bluth

        I just saw a painting in wal-mart going for 5 bucks. I then went to an art auction and was pissed when I couldn't get this van Gogh painting for 5 bucks! It was crazy and totally unfair. All paintings should be the same price.

        You're all to blame as to why the App store and devs are the way they are. People have gotten overloaded with these cheap, rushed, generic, and contrived games that they've accepted it as the norm. Games that were made 20+ years ago had more depth and charm than most of the stuff I see on the app store these days.. but hey it's ok because it only cost 99 cents!  Aren't people tired of saying "it's an ok game for 99 cents"?

        iOS will become an even more dumbed down outlet because people will continue to buy these games because they're so cheap. Cheap thrills. Devs are taking advantage of the common fool, and it's become even more evident when a company like CAVE will throw into the towel to cater to the social crowd. There's no integrity in iOS gaming, none. I've come to accept it for what it is and realize PC and Console still has the same integrity, and same quality as they've always had and is worth what price.

        Next time someone buys one of these cheap games on iOS, do yourself a favor and go to the steam store. Sort by price and see some of the quality games you can get for the same price as a generic iOS title. Really, it will put things into prospective.

      • Andy Poes

        You're using a straw-man argument. You can't invalidate what he's saying by providing a mismatched parabole. 

      • Anonymous

        Not really, he has a point, lower prices doesnt automatically make more profit, especially when it come to niche products.

        Its a shame that the market has forgotten the old saying. "you get what you've payed for"

      • Andy Poes

        But buying Grand Theft Auto 3 for $3.99 and buying a Cave game for $7.99 is not buying Wall Mart Art for $5 and expecting a Van Gogh for $5 (hence the arguable comparison).

        To each is own- but for me I find the cave games (while really great games) to be short arcade experiences. They in no way differentiate themselves from the cornucopia of iPhone games as something "special" or super excellent when you can buy games (that are also ports) like Grand Theft Auto 3 ($3.99) and LostWinds ($3.99). Both games are half the price and in my opinion better games (but again, thats my opinion and that point can be argued). You'll have a tougher time convincing people that Cave's arcade ports are enough better than games like GTA3 and LostWinds to justify double the price.

        But its a free market - Cave can charge what they want. But they can't blame the platform when they're not profitting off their iPhone ports when other companies are raking it in.

      • Anonymous

        Its actually like trying to sell and actual Van Gogh painting at Wal-Mart.. for 10 million dollars... How many are you going to sell??

        Know the market.. the app store isnt really the place for 15$ games.. if they made it $5, it would have sold more copies..

        I buy $60 games for my console a couple times a year, but I have yet to buy an app that is worth more than $5 on the app store, as much as I want Espaluga or some of the Sqeenix games..

      • Anonymous

        Actually, it's because their target market is smaller that they should charge a higher price. If your product has mass appeal then you sell for less and make it up on volume. If your target market is small, then you're not going to get big sales even at a low price.

    • http://twitter.com/Inaba_kun Inaba-kun

      Cave games are aproximately 50,000 times better than other iOS games, so the tiny price hike is more than justified. You get what you pay for.

      • Mark Booker

        The point he was trying to make wasn't that the games aren't WORTH that much, it's that more people would BUY the game at $1.99, and therefore, the game could potentially make more money.  There is a sweet spot for pricing, and CAVE hasn't hit it, obviously.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CKBNMJGLGCBQOSH2BM264QIHLI Bridget

      Oh good grief.   It always just BUGS me to see people whining about price differences of..... what, like, three dollars? Sometimes up to.... GASP.... TEN!  Holy  craaaaaaap!  TEN!   Yeesh.

      Alot of shmup fans are willing to pay much, much, MUCH more to get a chance to play these.  And that's JUST for the game.  Many also have to pay for a JP version console, or various things to go with PCBs (and PCBs are ridiculously expensive to start with).   My original copy of Mushihime-sama cost an absurd 100 or so.   And this was for the somewhat lackluster PS2 version.   THIS version costs..... well, FAR, FAR less than 100 dollars!

      They then go and make these games available to EVERYONE with an iOS device, for a price that's.... what.... less than ten dollars I think.... and people freaking COMPLAIN ABOUT IT?

      Yet I notice nobody bloody complains when freaking SQUARE-ENIX and their massive ego sets prices at an insane 15 or 17 dollars simply because Square-Enix, which seems to be exactly the reason.  

      Really, if a difference of 5 dollars or so is THAT big of a problem, you probably REALLY shouldnt be buying any games at all currently anyway.

      • http://twitter.com/HawkEyeTS Will Buckingham

        I'm sure a lot of shmup fans are willing to pay those prices.  Me, I'm not a huge shmup fan, and so I waited for their games to go on sale before I was willing to take the risk that I didn't like it.  I was willing to pay ~$5 for Deathsmiles from what I played in the demo, and when it dropped price during the holidays recently, I bought it.  I wasn't willing to pay the usual $11.99 for it, because I knew I'd play it infrequently, and sure enough, that prediction has panned out at least for me. 

        On a side note, I can't pretend the blatantly superior items available as paid DLC didn't irk me just a bit either.  I'm cool with minor boosts being available to players that want them, or custom visuals.  The items they're selling for cash are far and away better than anything else I've seen purchasable for in-game currency though.  That's a trend I really want to see die.

    • http://twitter.com/Anthony7531 Anthony Attinello

      I heard somewhere that the reason that Cave's games are so expensive is that the US dollar is weak compared to the Japanese Yen. I know Square Enix and even Taito have some pretty high priced games as well. Anyone who knows more than I do want to confirm this?

  • Dirty Pancakes

    Some good games but their prices are too high. Plus their ports. You can't asks those prices for poorly upscaled ports.

    • Anonymous

      Square Enix does :)

      • http://RolePlayFTW.com Huy Ngo

        God they totally do and I will never buy their stuff tirelessly rehashed bullspit.

  • http://twitter.com/starksimon Stark

    This is bad. Really, really bad. CAVE are a rare gem in the gaming industry. And people have their heads stuck up in their asses. They refuse to pay $60 for a great CAVE game, but they will run to the nearest store and pay $60-$70 for games like Call of Duty 2456/x super duper shotgun edition.

  • Anonymous

    where are the freemium console games anyway?  why's nobody working on that? :)

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      There are a lot of studios working on that, the problem right now is that the payment system for XBLA and PSN were designed before free to play caught hold.

  • http://twitter.com/Inaba_kun Inaba-kun

    Cave's console strategy has long been bizarre and nonsensical. They have ported many of their shooters to the Xbox 360, but on region locked Japan only discs sold at extreme prices. Given that the X360 is dead in Japan, this is crazy business decision. I assume Microsoft were (maybe still are, who know) paying for some of this to attempt to curry favour with Japanese gamers, but it's damaged Cave enormously.

    Instead they should have been releasing their shooters as Xbox Live Arcade and PSN titles, and made them available worldwide for a 800 MS points or less. Then people would have the opportunity to buy them at a fair price.

    Their iOS stuff is great, priced perfectly and available to all. I really wouldn't imagine that the iOS division will change much, as it's most likely the most profitable part of Cave now.

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      Totally agree with all this.

    • Anonymous

      but look at how many players have their game registered at gc, i dont know what is the ratio between people who bought the game and who have gc account online, but still the numbers are not that great.

    • Anonymous

      The reason why their Japanese games are priced high is because thats the going rate of the JPN games market. Their loacalised ports are priced at budget boxed titles.

      BTW they have tried out digital xbla, which didnt seem to be too successfull.
      Guwange 800msp. the great little platformer Nin2Jump 400msp.

      The sad thing is is that the market is saturated with lower quality games and gamers for some reason cant ell the difference in quality of the content. Thats why you get ppl moaning that their iphone games should be priced at $99

  • http://twitter.com/Kevlar_X Kevin Donovan

    Agree with all the pricing comments, I've tried all the lite versions of their games and maybe its because I'm not a hardcore bullet hell shooter fan but there's no way I would pay those prices for a shooter.

  • http://twitter.com/oooooomonkey Oooooomonkey

    My opinion I bought my iPod 4G mainly for gaming and spend on average £15-£25 a month on new iOS games but cave always release there games at crazy high prices for ios games. And when I could buy one game by cave or 10 by others for the same price it's a no brainer for me. Just my opinion.
    There's also the fact I'm not a huge bullet hell fan but if they launched at 69p-£1.49 then they would have had me with an impulse buy on realease.

  • Madison Gerritsen

    Maybe Cave should stop whining and lower their prices. Because THAT is what causing the low sales. They are steep for what you get compared to other much more high end productions, and that is underestimating it.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      When you're selling something to a small niche market you raise prices, not lower them. Even if Cave dropped their prices to 99¢, they'd never see the volume they need to make a load of cash because there are only so many people interested in a hardcore bullet hell shooter.

  • http://RolePlayFTW.com Huy Ngo

    I am definitely disappointed in this news.  I have enjoyed their games as is, but the fact of the matter is I'd rather have CAVE than no CAVE.  Change the game genres as you see fit to work the market, but please stay true to the quality of game you produce.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5FLRQI2X2LU3IHMCG7HEAEFD5I Cat Astrophy

    Nearly every game store I've been to still has boxes of the LE of Deathsmiles. Developing that for a $60 game was definitely a huge huge mistake. The types of games Cave makes are good for PSN/XBL/Mobile only.

    • Anonymous

      It wasnt priced at $60 the LE was $50 with the std version priced around $35. It isnt as if you dont have to buy it at full retail. Boxed games DO drop in price

      *Rant on* Ive never really understood why ppl moan about niche games like shmups been boxed and priced higher than 1200msps, when anyone willing to wait 2 month can buy it cheaper than a XBLA game*rant off*

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelMatzat Michael Matzat

    It´s realy hard to have a big hit at their price tag. If they chared half as much they might just have earned more monny due to higher sales. If you charge high premium you need more properganda than some good reviews here and there. I am not saing this is right, but this is how the marked works right now unless you are square enix releasing big classic titles that work just by name value.

  • Anonymous

    What ppl here dont see is that CAVE games on iphone & android are infact ports of the arcade which get ported to the 360 and later smartphone.

    Thats why the games are fantastic games compared to other smartphone games. So if CAVE stop creating games for the arcade & 360, the iphone games wont be as good. Case in point other CAVE only smartphone games like Bug Panic which is nowhere as good as their arcade ports

    • himanshu modi

      That can be your opinion. I loved Bug Panic. Granted I am no bullet hell addict, but bug panic is a great game compared to other iOS games in the genre or can hold it's ground as compared to other Cave games too.

  • Adams Immersive

    Niche products catering to specific wants will, by definition, never be great mass-market sellers. Bullet-hell shooters may fit that description. I wish that business, art, and fun were always the same thing, but they’re not.

    But by that pure profit logic, every game (or song, or book, or TV show) should be whatever will sell the most copies. ONLY the majority would ever be served!

    What if 10% of people really would like a certain awesome unusual game idea, but 90% of people will hate it? That game is a recipe for low star reviews, bad reviews, and low sales—just by being the wrong KIND of thing. Even worse off are games that are a unique twist on a popular formula: it may be a twist that only 10% of people like, and everyone else will judge negatively by their past expectations. But shouldn’t the 10% who love it have the choice to have that unique experience? There are some TDs I love, for instance, that most people hate; I’m not wrong and they’re not wrong. What’s wrong is to say that the best game is the one that pleases the greatest number. That’s too simple. It’s like saying there shouldn’t be books about stamp collecting because most people don’t care. (Or like saying there shouldn’t be an Apple TV, or an iPod Shuffle, because most people choose something else! Yet those products meet unique needs.)

    “Niche product” should be thought of us a positive phrase, not a negative one. A niche product brings something special to the market that some generic social-gaming cash funnel does not.

    Many of my own game ideas—my favorite ones—are that kind of niche thing. I KNOW most people will hate them. I’ll love them, and maybe a few others will as well. They should be able to see the light of day.

    But business reality says otherwise. And that’s the reality that keeps you fed and housed!

    The solution, I think, is to do both: let mainstream sellers fund pure passion projects on the side. I hope CAVE manages that. As for me, my first game will be somewhere in between, I’m hoping. Not a cynical cash-grab, nor a pure crazy artistic vision.

    The other part of the solution is a marketing challenge: drive the “wrong people” AWAY from your game by an accurate description. But drive awareness among your niche users... if you can find them.

  • http://twitter.com/back2this Sean Yuan

    Why buy the newly released Bug Princess by CAVE for an incredibly expensive, high-priced $4.99? That's just inhumane. I could buy 5 copies of Angry Birds with that money. I mean, they're only $0.99 each. How dare devs try to price games higher than that?!

    @back2this:twitter 

  • Anonymous

    I understand that super-Japanese bullet-hell shooters don't have the largest market in the world and therefore probably shouldn't be sold at a crazy low price point like 99 cents, but I can't help but thinking maybe a few more sales wouldn't help them out. Not the EA/Gameloft "here's some crap ports and knockoffs for 99 cents" sale, but maybe bring your $8 games down to $5 a little more often. I've only played the "bug" games of theirs on iOS but Bug Princess is one of my favorite iOS games. Its also the only CAVE bullet-hell shooter I have because I got it for around $5. If they are only going to try to sell to their target market then they're not going to do well. Brining the price points down just a little might help introduce them to new fans. Or maybe people will still just wait for them to be 99 cents. I'd like to think people are cooler than that, though.

  • gee

    its a shame that such a good company is doing bad.

  • Anonymous

    asssssss

  • Anonymous

    Social gaming - the curse phrase of the industry.

  • http://twitter.com/crescenteyed Lan Xu

    I really hope they lower the prices and wait for the response. With that and some tweeting they might just figure it out. Bug Princess is awesome and when dropped to 99 cent it came back to the top 100. They make moves like they think they are Square Enix  and they can hold there breath. In my opinion most app costumers are about discount because we are aware that it will come.When they do drop the prices I will be right there to scoop some up.

  • Chengjie Yin

    all their games are sold at a ridiculous price range. They just ported most stuff over to iOS, lack of upgrades, lack of retina display support. If that could still sell games on iOS, i bet app store would have become a much worse place for consumer. No wonder they see disappointing sale numbers.

    iOS is good for developers who work hard for their games and listen to their consumers needs, not just throwing a game on iOS platform and expect it to draw huge amount of money while they can stay back and count and money.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MSH56N633ACUVD46DAZSBQ3LJU DwayneW

    Certainly a lot of you are the "niche" and, just what does buying a "CAVE" game even mean? Does it have better "genes" than something slaved over and perfected like Modern Combat 3, or Infinity Blade (1 & 2), or Death Race, or Bullet Time, or Muffin Knight or GTA 3? None of which are over seven bucks. Those poor Philistines you berate may not see things from your point of view, when all they see is a flat colorful version of Space Invaders. It's nice to be wowed, by your investment with reasonably (or in some cases "generously") priced content. Saying something is better, "just because" does not make it better, nor saying something is cookie cutter some how take away from the fact all Bullet Hell shooters play the same, while offering none of the "rewards." FPS's on iPhone may play like... FPS's.. but there's vs, leader boards. and skill based combat, not just mesmerism through glittering rave lights, and a bouncy tune... (and don't get me started on the idea of paying $10.00 for a bullet hell game about 12 year old girls dressed up like Lolita's). You're truly from another planet, some of you...