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Animal Crossing: New Leaf Has Been Downloaded Half A Million Times In Japan

Posted by Damien McFerran

Iwata reveals that smartphones have played a huge part in the game's success

Animal Crossing: New Leaf has become something of a smash hit in its native Japan; as of December, it has sold 2 million copies, becoming one of the most popular 3DS games yet and illustrating just how massive Nintendo's console is in the far east.

Download sales haven't been spoken about much lately, but in a recent interview with Nikkei, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata dropped the impressive stats:

For a game that costs 4800 yen to sell 500,000 copies without a discount because it is a download is quite an event.

He isn't kidding, either. Half a million downloads for a game that costs that much and is also available at physical retail is incredible - although the recent shortage of copies in Japanese stores could have some part to play.

Elsewhere in the interview, Iwata also revealed the demographic of Animal Crossing: New Leaf players:

Using our Club Nintendo system we can learn the gender and age of our customers. If we look at the first 3 weeks of Animal Crossing sales to the end of November, the highest group is 19 to 24 year-old women. This is an age-range that is typically found in fewer numbers for Nintendo. I've never seen anything like it; a game that sells like this on a Nintendo hardware.

However, something interesting is the gender of 3DS purchasers. If we look at the male-female ratio as a whole, it divides into 69% males, 31% female, but if we limit it to just those customers that purchased the hardware at the same time as Animal Crossing the percentages become 44% male and 56% female. These are the sort of numbers that leave me dumbfounded.

Interestingly, Iwata also stated that much of the game's success was down to smartphones - a surprising comment when you consider that many industry experts are saying that iOS and Android are eating away at Nintendo's market share:

What really helped to spread this around was social media, and smart phones. What really sold Animal Crossing to women this time was, without question, smart phones

Animal Crossing: New Leaf launches in North America and Europe later this year.

[via nikkei.com, m.neogaf.com]

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User Comments (20)

shynra

#1

shynra said:

Using our Club Nintendo system = world of inacurate data @_@; well at elast when I fill out the many surveys to get my stars! :P

phoenixology

#3

phoenixology said:

Glad Nintendo are realising the potential of smartphones (and tablets too maybe).

Being a long Nintendo fan, I'm a fan of their games more than consoles so I'd actually welcome Nintendo games becoming officially available on smartphones or tablets.

Animal Crossing on a iPad with retina display... imagine that?! One can dream :-)

datamonkey

#4

datamonkey said:

@phoenixology

I'd have nothing against Nintendo games being on other systems ONLY if the system in question has physical buttons/d-pad. Playing AC on an ipad would be awful for me...

Kirk

#5

Kirk said:

Great that it's selling well but the digital version really should be a lot cheaper than the retail copy.

BlatantlyHeroic

#6

BlatantlyHeroic said:

@phoenixology You do realize how bad of a situation they would be in to have to do that? The 3DS is better than any tablet out today, in terms of gameplay capability.

Ichiban

#7

Ichiban said:

damn, thats an impressive number of downloads. More ammo against the naysayers, who can all suck it!

Taceus

#8

Taceus said:

@MeowGravy Too bleedin right :)
I've never played a single AC game but after seeing gamers glowing words for it and all the hype and frenzy over this new AC I think I'll definitely be looking into this one.

Windy

#9

Windy said:

The game is simply awesome! Gamecube Animal Crossing Awesome! Wild World Awesome! City Folk Awesome! There is no Argument as to the game being bad. I just hope they don't release New Leaf in limited quantities to force downloads then say hey look we have more people Downloading the game than pick up a Cartridge it's obviously what people prefer so we are going all digital download. I sense this all coming very soon and that day will be a sad one for me at least.

Windy

#10

Windy said:

@phoenixology Um we are getting Animal Crossing on 3DS not on Ipad and I think 3D trumps the retina Display. Gaming has come a longway on Ipad and Android Tablets I like to game on both myself but always prefer my 3DS if there is a better game to play

Windy

#11

Windy said:

If you like your games on Cartridge be sure to pre-order this one. Games like Animal Crossing don't see a price drop very often and I have a feeling limited quantities will be released to force Digital downloads. I bet ebay resellers are chompin at the bit for this to sell out **BOO's**

DerpSandwich

#12

DerpSandwich said:

Everyone but Iwata: "Smartphones are stealing our sales! Waaaahhhhh!"

Iwata: "Smartphones are helping our sales! :)"

Stay classy, Nintendo.

Emaan

#14

Emaan said:

Basically, social media helped to promote this game. I'm a bit confused as to why its special in this case. I've always considered the internet to be a big factor in promoting all video games lately. I wonder what made the spread of word about the new Animal Crossing any different? Still, great news about the sales and everything. Hopefully that success can be replicated internationally.

Henmii

#16

Henmii said:

Oh no, Iwata praises mobile phones! Hopefully this isn't the beginning of the end!!

Windy

#18

Windy said:

@Emaan Nah Social Media didnt help promote this game. Did it help sure but this has been a juggernaut since the Gamecube days. Every nintendo fan in the world already Knew about this game :)

Joygame51

#19

Joygame51 said:

Am hoping to get a 3DSXL sometime in march or april (Santa and Uncle Sam put together... spells 3DSXL ) I hope! I am a senior gamer and $$ come slowly due to other needs. However I will get my 3DSXL fix then with any luck. And Animal Crossing New Leaf is hovering in my future. Hey, Better late then never.

Windy

#20

Windy said:

@Joygame51 Awesome welcome aboard Joygame! I am a 40 something almost 50 something gamer and it's never to late it's a great hobby :) Animal Crossing would be a great game to start with. when you get your 3ds Message me your friend code Im always lookin for new online friends to play online Multiplayer games with like Animal Crossing

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