Japanese gamers are crazy for Love Plus. While some of the more ludicrous stories we hear about adventures with the game, where players take the virtual girlfriends on vacations or celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, are likely cries for attention or manufactured publicity stunts, the series has remained a best seller and people are even willing to buy the system for it. So it isn’t surprising to hear about Konami taking advantage of that devotion. We already knew there’d be some items that could only be unlocked by visiting certain locations, like 7-Eleven, or paying for them. We didn’t know that people could pay Konami to get emails from Manaka, Rinko and Nene.
The service has been dubbed New Love Plus Girlfriend Mail and works only with the 3DS game New Love Plus. That’s out tomorrow on Valentine’s Day, if you’re curious and happen to be in Japan. People pay ¥315 (~$4) per month to get emails on their phones and computers from their girlfriend. All players have to do is make sure they have WiFi enabled on their 3DS. Then you just upload your save data each time you play and Konami will make sure the emails sent to you by Manaka, Rinko and Nene correspond with what the two of you have been up to in New Love Plus.
As a means of getting players hooked, New Love Plus Girlfriend Mail will be free until at least February 29, 2012. Players will have to pay starting sometime in March 2012. I’m sure even a few days would be enough for fanboys (or fangirls) to decide if daily email updates from a virtual girlfriend are worth $4 a month.
New Love Plus is region-locked, like all 3DS games, so no virtual girlfriend for you unless you own a Japanese 3DS. If you do, you still might have to expend a little extra effort to get access to the New Love Plus Girlfriend Mail. Sometimes Japanese companies only allow you to pay for virtual services if you’re actually living in Japan.