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Konami has always been skilful in doing good and appreciated dating simulations; indeed, Tokimeki Memorial, one of its most famous productions, has often be associated with the entire genre, representing it for at least a decade in Japan. During the mid-90s, the first chapter (i.e. Tokimeki Memorial: Forever With You) in the series stormed the charts by selling more than 800.000 units both on PS1 and on Saturn (473.795 and 374.936 units respectively) and certainly reaching the million mark counting the other platforms where it came out (PC Engine, Super Famicom and PC, and later also on mobile phones and PSP): an incredible result for such a niche genre, usually confined to the personal computer market. This was enough to entitle Konami the queen of dating sims and to begin a very extensive brand exploitation, between anime TV series, spin-offs (bound to girls as well) and merchandising of any kind.
But it seems Konami has recently found another brand to milk properly among otaku audience.
A dating sim which was able in its first appearance to more than double the latest entry in Tokimeki Memorial series; a game that has made Japanese video gamers a bit crazier than usual when digital girls were around… An out-and-out mania which started slowly and grew over time becoming one of the most popular and wanted game of the past two years.
A very simple title, LovePlus (or Love+), and not so many expectations at first, even though the DS was chosen for the release; the game was introduced as a more interactive dating-sim than Tokimeki Memorial, which is actually more novel-oriented, and focused on the relationship to establish day by day with one of the three girls the player has to choose (for the record, Manaka, Rinko and Nene); in order to have a more realistic approach, the internal DS clock would have helped the days to flow as it did in Animal Crossing Wild World. But concerning the genre Konami had published just some Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side on DS (which had a remarkable success) so the outcome of the project wasn’t so obvious
In fact, LovePlus debut was modest: 47.854 units sold within the first 4 days in the market, in early September 2009; actually, the game had been sold-out straight after but continued to sell well for months and it eventually ended up with more than 240.000 units sold . This unforeseen result is even more important when we consider the usual commercial life of similar products: otaku games almost always run out of their market potential within the first weeks after the launch, being more front-loaded than every other game; dating sims are in the group, with tie-in of certain manga or anime (e.g. Suzumiya Haruhi) or particular title with digital idols (e.g. Project Diva), and they usually tend to sell the majority of their LTD in a very short lapse of time. LovePlus, instead, kept selling from September to Christmas holidays and even in the first months of the new year, with a small but constant amount of copies weekly. As stated before, neither Tokimeki Memorial 4, released on PSP in December, 2009, could sell so much, stopping at about 70.000 copies, less than one third of LovePlus total sales.