Mobile otome games: desire and suspense as economic strategy

Communication au colloque « Replaying Japan », Université de Liège, En ligne, 10 au 13 août 2020.

With the increasing legislations on gacha games, the issue of monetisation of free-to-play games is often addressed considering how game mechanics trick the player using microtransactions. However, some narrative games use a similar economic system linked with the structure of their story. The close reading of four otome games created by Japanese studios will focus on two narrative strategies: the character gacha, which relies on the player’s desire for a character, and the progress gate, which relies on narrative tension. The paper concludes that those devices are not so much a way to coerce players into spending money than an additional possibility for them to enjoy the narrative.