Ditching 3 Games, Japanese Developer Bets On Girl Spanking

Nippon Ichi Software is suspending new game development and halting work on three games currently in production due to a "severe marketplace". That isn't stopping it from releasing a game in which players spank bad little girls.

The Gifu-based company is best known (and loved) for its Disgaea tactical role-playing games.

Earlier this year, the company stated that its operating profit was down a dizzying 97.5 percent. Nippon Ichi's earnings were so dour that investors began dumping shares. Stock prices slid 20 percent, and JASDAQ had to put a freeze on the price to stop the blood letting.

Somewhere between 2004 and 2006, Nippon Ichi decided that it was more than a boutique RPG game developer and that it should run with the big boys. The number of game releases more than doubled in 2007. Last year, the company released over 12 titles. In 2004, it had released only four. So far, the gamble has not paid off.

Nippon Ichi Sofware, which literally means "Number One of Japan Software", released a statement today declaring that the company was halting work on three games in development. That means the development on those titles is already at a loss. According to Nippon Ichi's estimates, it has lost ¥21 million (US$244,000). The company also will not be developing any new titles for the foreseeable future, until it reexamines the Japanese market.

The company, however, is publishing "Criminal Girls", a role-playing game from Tokyo game developer Imageepoch, later this year. In it, players rehabilitate seven girls that represent the seven deadly sins by giving them "healing" massages or by spanking them.

With Criminal Girls, Nippon Ichi is putting its eggs all in one basket. Depending on how much the company spends on marketing the game, it could make or break an already weakened company. Nippon Ichi? Not any more.