I don't think you should blame everything on sci-fi, although it's true the genre might be somehow part of what it makes PSCD sell worse than other visual novels (also, I should note that comparing PSCD to, let's say, SOTW is like trying to compare oranges and apples!).
I think there are some other factors at play here, not only sci-fi and the fact that many of women don't like it. Just for the records, sci-fi is my favorite, followed closely by fantasy, and I happen to be a woman. My husband, on the other hand, couldn't care less about any of those, and the only game he ever plays is that baseball game (MVP? MLB? not sure now which one, lol).
Anyways, it's more like a mixed bag to me. There was a time a couple of years ago when there where these books (and later movies) out about shinning vampires (you know what I'm talking about, don't deny it!) that caused such a frenzy that everybody else started to work on vampires. Have a movie about vampires? Shut up and take my money! Wanna write a successful book? Better make it about vampires! Vampires where the thing, the best bet, the latest fashion. If you had made a game about vampires back then, I guess it would have sold really well, even if it was horribly cliched or even not so well written. Mind you, vampires are still popular... just not as much as back then.
Right now, fairy tales seem to be a trend. I mean, Descendants? Frozen? Ever After High? Once upon a time? How about those movies remade and retold? Maleficent, anyone? Snow White and the legend of the huntsman? That kind of stuff is bestselling now. The fact that Frozen (which is supposedly aimed for kids) can sell better and stay on top longer than Star Wars should be revealing.
So, fantasy seems to be the trend now. Couple that with women being a good part of you customer base and their dislike for sci-fi (I admit that most of people I know who like sci-fi are men). There's also the stereotypes. People kind of expect characters in visual novels to be drawn anime-style. Anything drawn different is hit-or-miss it seems.
So, PSCD has all these:
- Sci-fi, ergo less women customers.
- Not trending right now (despite Star Wars).
- Unusual art style for a visual novel.
- Also, unusual gameplay for a visual novel. Not that many card game/visual novel hybrids around that I know of.
And while all these might sound (and are, in my opinion) really cool mixed up together, I can see why some people might be put off by some of these "features" or by stuff that has always been done some other way.
On the Mass Effect train, I did play a femShep, twice, but I also did a guy because... well, Tali, lol. I liked it better than Dragon Age (and sci-fi probably had something to do with that). But, I also played The Witcher, and loved it more than anything Bioware has produced till now. Again, I don't think the lack of sci-fi had anything to do with it.
To end with this wall of word (I apologize for my verbosity) I also played Aloners, mentioned up there by lanawinst, and while it was a small game (not a small story, mind you) and the setting was more post-apocalyptic than sci-fi (it also involved little tech), I found myself thoroughly enjoying it and hoping more games (bigger games) could make me this invested. It was about the story and the way it was presented, the genre had nothing to do with it.
I would be sad if you decide to skip sci-fi games completely, but of course, I would be even more sad if you had to stop making games, so that's that. I guess I'll just take what I can get.
Seems like you have another fan here, Jack.