News Article

Thinking Of Buying Animal Crossing: New Leaf? Go Digital, Says Iwata

Posted by Damien McFerran

"That makes me sound a little like a salesman, doesn’t it?"

As you're no doubt aware, Animal Crossing: New Leaf is now available in North America.

It's an astonishingly good piece of software, as you'll know if you've taken the time to read and digest our Animal Crossing: New Leaf review. It's also the kind of game which is sure to keep players busy throughout the entire year — which is why Nintendo president Satoru Iwata is urging 3DS owners to download the digital copy instead of picking up the physical release:

Animal Crossing is a game that I hope people will play throughout the whole year. But we want people to play other games too. So something I would recommend is the digital download version. I think a title like Animal Crossing: New Leaf, which you can play throughout the year, is ideally suited to this format. That makes me sound a little like a salesman, doesn’t it? (laughs)

Which version have you purchased, or do you intend to purchase? Let us know by voting in the poll below.

Which version of Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the one for you? (402 votes)

Digital download


Physical copy


I'm not interested in buying Animal Crossing: New Leaf because I'm a grumpy person


Animal what?


Please login to vote in this poll.


From the web

Game Screenshots

User Comments (93)



ferrers405 said:

Animal What? Hahaha, I'm not a grumpy person, just don't like the pace of playing a game for a year, drop by drop, which it's the case of ACNL.



naut said:

I need my physical copies, however, I definitely understand the appeal of the digital. At some point I plan to purchase, the digital version and transfer over but for now the cart suits me just fine.



RupeeClock said:

I'm going digital. I had pondered if it'd be worth the benefit of it always being present on my system, although the choice was made a LOT easier when I got the game for free through the So Many Games promotion.



Damo said:

I have to admit, I agree with Iwata on this. I find myself picking digital over physical most of the time now, purely because it's more convenient to have everything on a single 32GB SD card than is it to carry around different game carts.

Of course, I endlessly worry that I'm going to lose my 3DS and all of the games on it! I just hope Nintendo comes up with a universal sign-in account system soon, which will allow me to re-download titles in the event of my console getting lost, stolen or damaged.



bezerker99 said:

Animal Crossing for Gamecube, DS, and Wii wasn't downloaded right onto the console and I did just fine playing it everyday. Physical will always be my personal preference. Sorry, Iwata-san.



Sakura said:

I'm still not sure about longterm security of downloads. If your console goes kaputt then you're scuppered, right? There's no way to transfer your purchased games to another console? 3DS = £180, 20 games @ £30 = £600 Siblings would have to share a console too, instead of just the cart. It's not possible to use the same sd card on different consoles, is it? And what's so hard about swapping carts anyway? Just as much trouble is ending one game, closing it, opening the other game.



yamipuff said:

I only got the Digital one as I got it as a free download from their promotion. I actually had no intention even buying the game. I hope I enjoy it.



kaisersalsek said:

I would get the download... if the physical copy wasn't £26. I love having some games on my 3ds, but they're either e-shop only, or because I had free e-shop credit and the so-many games promotion. Other than that, don't really see why I'd pay more for something that isn't even assigned to my account, if my 3ds gets lost or stolen, something with no resale value (not that I sell my games much) and without a box (lets me have a sense of ownership!)



Dizzard said:

I'm getting physical but I don't really care between the two. It's just nice to actually go to a shop and pick it up. It feels like more of an occasion.

I'm not traumatized at the thought of having to spend 3 seconds switching 3ds carts.



Lin1876 said:

I'm actually going to go digital. I'd normally want a physical copy, but games like this are just made to go everywhere with you.



Fingeldor said:

@Damo If you do lose it, file a police report, get a copy of the report and contact Nintendo. They will help you retrieve your lost games.



Undead_terror said:

Physical for me, if I get any repairs on my 3ds/etc I don't want to purchase the game over/start the game over.
Edit: pretty much what @Damo said.



Gustoff said:

That's why i'm going physical with all games until they do get an account of some type in case my 3DS gets damage. I do have some eShop games, but most were free from the Ambassador program or ones that i've gotten from Club Nintendo with my accumulated points. I've only actually purchased 3 eShop games with actual money.



Yosher said:

Much as this does seem like a good game to get digitally, I'll stick with physical, because I like that new game smell.



Hysterical said:

Well I would I have got the physical but with that Free Promotion, I'm going digital.



Trask said:

Why WOULDN'T Iwata want you to download a digital copy? The company makes more money off a digital sale.



naut said:

@Trask Yeah honestly I'm getting a bit tired of how hard Nintendo is pushing digital for obvious money-making reasons.



DarkKirby said:

When Nintendo changes their digital sales system to be account based instead of system based I will give digital purchases serious consideration. Until then I will be deterred from digital purchases.



Captain_Gonru said:

@Windy Agreed. I'm getting mine a 3DS of her own, too. She had been content to use mine, but wants her own for AC. So, if anyone wants to know if it's a system seller or not, now you know it sold at least one.



Yai said:

Digital thanks to a promo! Even if it wasn't the case, I agree with him in the fact that it is good to have it always on your system. :3



Sakura said:

The other thing about downloads is that you can't sell them second hand. I'm sure it's good for companies for everyone to have to buy a new copy, but is it good for consumers?



russellohh said:

They print video games now?! And you have to drive miles to some store, speak to a stoner, and waste more gas going home to get what I could receive for less money in my own house?



Sakura said:

@undead_terror Most people are getting AC free with a UK promotion where you buy 3 of 8 games and get to download one of the 8 of your choice.



russellohh said:

@undead_terror People leave their houses to do those?!? I did buy a few of the cards for bestbuy sales, and there was awhile there i found a way to (legally) get the $20 cards for $5. After buying $200 worth for $50, they ran out, and I've just been using my credit card ever since. But drive to a store? Eww...



Geonjaha said:

Animal Crossing was the first retail game to almost make me go digital. However the disadvantages still outweigh the advantages in my opinion. Once they tie games to accounts and not systems that might change.



k8sMum said:

AC:NL will be my first major game download. i want it on there all the time. but i desperately hope ninty is going to change to a user ID system rather than tied to hardware.

why should someone have to file a police report, get in touch with nintendo, waste all that time etc to get another copy of a game they had bought. sorry, but sony's system is much easier/faster.



Buduski said:

@Damo this is something that a lot of people are asking for, and seeing that Nintendo is finally serious about digital content, it only makes sense that they introduce a unified account system making gamers feel more comfortable about downloading their products and not having to feel worried about losing all that content if you misplace your 3DS or have it stolen



Megumi said:

Sorry, but I know Animal Crossing won't last me forever...getting it physical.



Lostog said:

i don't think not planning on buying animal crossing despite knowing about it implies not being interested in it and being a grumpy person
there can be many reasons to not buy a game you know
not having huge amounts of money for instance
i'm interested in the game, but that holds true for many other games too, and i have to choose. sorry for not buying everything i want because i can't?



Zombie_Barioth said:

I definitely wouldn't mind going primarily digital especially give how much Nintendo has been promoting it, but I don't like the idea of loosing hundreds or potentially even thousands of dollars in downloads if something goes wrong.

Theres absolutely no reason anyone should have to file police reports, negotiate with customer support or anything else to reclaim purchases that Nintendo should already have on record.



ejamer said:

I strongly dislike buying digital if a retail version exists... but Animal Crossing is the rare exception where I'll play for hundreds of hours, be unlikely to trade/sell the game later, and care enough about convenient access that buying digital really makes sense. Salesman or not, Iwata is right on the money with this call.



Mr_Vengeance said:

Digital as I'm getting it in the promo - but otherwise physical all the way. I'm going to buy a physical copy some day for the collection.... will enjoy the obvious benefits of the digital version for now though....



Aqueous said:

Now I get to be grumpy and slaughter armies. Awesome!
Goes back to Fire Emblem Awakening



Angered_Pegasus said:

I will buy digital when Nintendo assures me that I can re-download the games I bought, if I were to lose my unit. So far, I prefer to own the games on a cartridge that can be played on all the 3DS units we have in our family. This said, I would not mind being given access to the Nintendo Japanese e-store, that would allow me to buy games that are not currently available in my region.



SilentHunter382 said:

Even though I will eb getting it free from the So Many games promo. I would have gotten it digital anyway if that promo wasn't there. Iwata is right here. Its that type of game I would rather have on my system at all times will having another game in the card slot.



paniccoffee said:

While I agree that it is convenient for a digital copy, I still will go for the physical copy until Nintendo changes their policy regarding re-download of purchased digital games I already bought through my account instead of it being tied to my console.

I don't mind the digital price being the same as the retail copy if that's what they really need to make profit enough for the game to be published, but I also fear the day something happens to my 3DS. At least with the retail copy, I could still buy a new 3DS and play the games there. I really hope Nintendo reconsiders their policy.



HeatBombastic said:

They're not that pushy. He even made a (albeit not a very funny one at least in the states, but cute nonetheless) joke at the end. He's generally making a suggestion that can earn him some extra cash since digital really does fit Animal Crossing's style.



ricklongo said:

I need a box and a cartridge to add to the collection in my bedroom rack. I'm old-fashioned like that.



MrMario02 said:

I don't get Animal Crossing. You live in a world with talking animals. so what? Yes, in AC:NL you're mayor, but with so many limits.



SigourneyBeaver said:

I've always felt that Animal Crossing should be something that's built into the system. I've played it on GC, Wii, and DS and got bored and left the game. So if the game is built in I stand more of a chance of going back to it between playing other games. Digital distribution is the way to go for me.



DerpSandwich said:

I really can't understand how people would trade the convenience of not having to swap out carts for a chunk of plastic taking up space on the shelf. Maybe for other games, but not Animal Crossing. I want this thing on my 3DS at all times.



RevolverLink said:

As I imagine that having games like Animal Crossing and Pokemon in my 3DS at all times would be tremendously convenient, I will gladly do so, Iwata-san.

...Just as soon as soon as you start tying purchases to accounts instead of systems. And not a moment before.



Capt_N said:

I am always going to be a physical cart/disc/disk person. I can resell, if I need to, or want to, have it in my collection, & currently the fate of any of my game systems is not the same as the games played on said systems; the system may die, get stolen, or be sold, but the games aren't tied to that system.

@Lostog: Same here. I pick, choose, & prioritize what games I really want. The same is said of my method of getting games off of the e-Shop.



siavm said:

I just buy games. I buy them used, new, and digital. For this I went digital since it was up at midnight. I like physical but that is not going to stop me from going digital for some games.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

@Damo Have you ever taken your 3DS in for repairs? I had a problem with games installing properly and they gave me a new 3DS and transferred over the games as well.

However, if it goes missing or is stolen well yeah then it's a problem.



SethNintendo said:

I prefer physical copies for all my games (only took the Club Nintendo extra coins offer for NSMB2 digital). So NSMB2 was my only retail game that I bought on the eshop. I however saw many benefits of having Animal Crossing always on my 3DS. I believe this is a perfect game for digital. So I am very happy to buy it digital and this is coming from someone that wants all physical copies.



hYdeks said:

Associate my downloads to my NN ID and I would buy digital, but till then, physical for me



Funny_Moblin said:

My plan is to go with physical first and see how it goes (since I feel more secure with physical). If it turns out to be too much of a problem, I will just buy the digital version and use the data transfer tool. Anyway, you can't use a data transfer tool from digital to physical...

If Nintendo adds a game tied to account system, then I`m sold.



Dyl_73 said:

Digital for me but only because I'm getting it for free having registered three games on the Nintendo website. Otherwise I would buy the cart.



Zaphod_Beeblebrox said:

I've been digitized because I like being able to switch between Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing without having to switch cartridges.

New Leaf is a tremendous improvement over City Life. I'm very happy.



Nintonic said:

I only have my default 3ds sd card so I bought it physical. I feel like Nintendo is trying to promote downloads way too much though.



GamerZack87 said:

Iwata-sama: "That makes me sound a little like a salesman, doesn't it?"
GASP! Tom Nook is posing as Iwata-sama!



tripunktoj said:

OK I admit it, maybe Im a grumpy person, but the real reason Im not getting it is that I don't like feeling obliged to play a sim daily, and AC is just that kind of game.



gaby_gabito said:

The biggest reason I buy Digital is because I'm too lazy to get up and change the cartridge or disc. Is there anybody out there like me? Lol



Bakajin said:

If I do get this, I'll get it digital. Normally I'd prefer the cart, but for a ten-minutes-a-day, every day title, digital makes a lot of sense.



Urbanhispanic said:

As soon as I get money, I'm buying the physical version....hands down!

I only buy digital games when it's the only version that is available.



Arcamenel said:

I got it digital and I don't regret it at all. It's my first retail game I bought digitally. I've played Nintendo handhelds since I was 9 and have never had an issue with a system breaking, getting stolen, or just dying on me. Generally I've either gotten bored with the handheld or upgraded and wanted nothing to do with the prior. I do get the reasoning behind cart only purchases, but when I think of the chances of something like it getting stolen happening, it doesn't seem as big of a deal to me. I definitely won't do this for every single game available in store, but some of the ones I'm really into, like Pokemon, I'd definitely consider it.



ReaperX30 said:

I though about getting it digital but I don't have enough blocks free on my 3DS and this must take a lot. Did two Gamestop today who were all out and found a copy, the last one, at a wallmart but what would've been a 45 minutes walking trip (return included) ended being a 3 hours bus trip. I always prefer having a physical copy but if I had the space I'd probably go digital. Less trouble and you can get it at midnight usually.



wooko said:

I had to go physical, because I use 2 3ds's. I have an older 3ds I carry with me at all times, and I have an XL for my home use.



TG1 said:

I can't support Nintendo's flawed approach to downloads at present ... once an account system comes in to place I'll consider it for select games, but until then there are just too many disadvantages.



Taya said:

I was planning on buying digital, but a local store broke the street date by five days and I couldn't resist buying it early.



datamonkey said:

I can't decide whether I want this or Castlevania from my free game download promotion... Any suggestions?!



ReaperX30 said:

@datamonkey Castlevania is cool but if you want something that will last you longer I'd go with Animal Crossing assuming you played a previous game in the series. You have a choice between an action platformer of about 15-20 hours or a relaxing and peaceful title that can last you years.



Wii_Win said:

Until Sunday evening, I was a skeptic of this. Then I bought it, and I love it. They should throw something in where if you play too long, they should add something where it says on the title screen, "Animal Crossing: New Life." LOL



DaveC said:

I would go physical, then you actually own it. Nintendo's DRM system sucks and is too restrictive for digital.



Laxeybobby said:

I would buy digital when the prices come into line with purchasing the physical cart.
I can buy the physical cart £10 cheaper than the e-shop digital download.
And this is the same for all the Nintendo premium titles available on the e-shop.



Stu_Dee_Jay said:

It can only be physical for me. Digital is some kind of scary, evil parasite, solely reliant on its host hardware.



jenisnape said:

Got digital as I want to play it all the time..but also want to play luigi's



Hylirica said:

I bought the physical copy. As I was picking the console up, I accidentally pushed in on the cartridge and out it popped. Unfortunately, I had not saved yet and had been fishing all afternoon. Talk about a tragedy. I guess I should have gone digital!



Mk_II said:

Iwata is right (as usual). Got a free download code for theis game and im loving it

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...