Visual novels are a niche genre in the West. Not as many people play them as they do in Japan. That comes back to cultural differences — reading isn’t as valued or encouraged here as it is elsewhere, and many gamers in the U.S. prefer the fast action of headshots — shooting aliens, zombies, and wartime combatants in the face — over the slow pace of character-heavy experiences.
From the few visual novels I’ve played, I’ve found that many are very anime-centric as well. Games like Fate/Extra and Corpse Party: Book of Shadows depend too much on Japanese tropes. Maybe serious anime fans would disagree with me, but I don’t want to see two young girls flirt with each other for a half-hour and then share a bathtub in a lengthy, detailed scene. (And yes, you could make that illustration your background on the PlayStation Portable. Seriously. Don’t rush out to buy it too fast now.)
999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (for Nintendo DS, 2010) from North American publisher Aksys Games and Japanese developer Chunsoft is different. Whatever hypersexuality it sneaks in is reduced to a few almost-hidden innuendos that actually feel more Westernized than most content in Japanese games. And as much as I support LGBT relationships, relating to heterosexual characters who are love interests is probably easier for American gamers than trying to follow two tween girls or two androgynous guys who are more than good friends.
That’s anime, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But not everyone cares for those drawn-out, “innocent”/perverted romantic focuses. I like that 999 keeps that stuff to a minimum and actually considers the audience playing it.