How Do Niche Games like Monster Hunter and Bloodborne go Mainstream?

GamesRadar - Demanding controls. Obtuse and unexplained mechanics. Soul-crushing difficulty. Million seller. One of these things seems like it doesn't belong with the others, but both Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and Bloodborne have sold over a million copies since their respective launches. And both games are notorious for being as difficult and exacting (but also as rewarding) as learning a new language. So how did two semi-obscure, super-niche Japanese games attain a level of popularity typically seen by mainstream titles like Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed? The answer, as always, is complex and multi-faceted.

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stuna11165d ago

By word of mouth and advertising. The think about BloodBorne people new it was coming. Sony and From software backed the game from the start.

ArchangelMike1164d ago

I think the ground work was laid with the previous 3 Souls game. I mean by the time Dark Souls 2 was out, the Souls series was already breaking down the 'niche' barrier.

ravinash1164d ago

Very true.
When Demon souls came out, it seemed like it came out of no where.
A little known game that at times wondered if it was ever going to make it to the west.

Then Dark souls came out and people out side Playstation got to enjoy it too.

Alexander1Nevermind1164d ago

Your right Ravinash.

I remember seeing little blurbs about Demon's Souls coming to NA after getting critical acclaim in Japan. I got it on release date and have been playing Souls games ever since.

Darth Gamer1164d ago

Same with me. I remember getting Demons souls on day one and have been playing them ever since. My type of game. I actually really wouldn't call any souls game a niche game. All they are, are dungeon adventure games like many before them just with a bit of difficulty added on. So you have to think and grind a bit to win. a "Niche" game to me is something like "Catherine".

pivotplease1164d ago

Same happened with the original monster hunter. It just happened to come West and probably didn't do that well sales-wise. They kept pushing the franchise and it really got into full swing with the PSP iterations in Japan. I would say from has the bigger Western fanbase. Although if monster hunter returned to PS and maybe went to Xbox too we would see a massive boost in its Western audience.

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Genuine-User1164d ago (Edited 1164d ago )

Yep. It's mostly down to From's brilliant craftsmanship and mass exposure.

StrawberryDiesel4201164d ago

That and the entire Souls Franchise has gained tremendously in popularity since going multiplatform with Dark Souls 1 & 2. The entire fan base knew Bloodborne would be similar in terms of gameplay and brutal difficulty. I'm glad to see these games do well as it means we will get more in the future.

stuna11164d ago

Totally agree. I think from the reception and praise is and has received, it's a given that there will likely be a sequel.

Bigpappy1165d ago (Edited 1165d ago )

Media excitement and high review scores will get casuals interested enough to buy and see what all the fuss is about.

MasterCornholio1164d ago

Casuals don't buy games like Bloodborne. They prefer games like Battlefield Hardline.

Volkama1164d ago (Edited 1164d ago )

"Casuals" isn't a definition I like to use much, but taking it to mean 'people that aren't so enthusiastic as to follow games news and previews'...

Casuals probably do buy Bloodborne. When they see commercials splashing around the 5/5 reviews and "game of the generation" quotes it probably looks like a game they want to buy.

If the adverts said "Demanding controls. Obtuse and unexplained mechanics. Soul-crushing difficulty." then casuals would be less likely to pick it up.

dcj05241164d ago

You are mistaken. Many of my "Casual" friends who just play call of duty and madden bought Bloodbounre. Not one finished it but they made it all the way to vicar. I don't think it's up to you to decide what "Casuals" enjoy.

Chevalier1164d ago

Did good reviews or lack of exclusives increase sales for niche games like Sunset Overdrive or Scream Ride? You seem to think it's just easy to sell this type of game. Like the article states it is multifaceted. Otherwise by your simplistic way of thinking SSO through Christmas with a bunch of advertising and 5 month gap without exclusives should have sold due to high reviews alone, yet hasn't even moved 1 million yet with Chritmas and 6 months on the market.

gangsta_red1165d ago

A great game with great reviews and great exposure will get a lot of people's attention.

Not to mention timing, releasing a game when there isn't anything established that might outshine it (CoD, Assassin Creed, etc. etc.) doesn't hurt a niche games chances either.

ArchangelMike1164d ago

I think its great that more games are releasing in the first half of the year. Last gen there was virtually nothing worth playing all year and the come October-November Everything under the sun woudl get released.

As it is now, I got plenty of time to play Bloodborn, then The Witcher 3, then Arkham Night. Imgine the night mare if all these game released in November o.0

MasterCornholio1164d ago


Its because the game is amazing.

Mikefizzled1164d ago

Whilst that may be true its an awful reason. Lots of brilliant games have sold poorly. Okami being the one that springs to mind.

Spotie1164d ago

It's far more than hype. Niche games don't get much in the way of hype. And it usually takes a few entries- see Persona- before it really hits the big time.

Until then, a consistent and somewhat accessible formula helps, as does word of mouth, which is probably bigger than any amount of marketing.

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