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Iwata Talks Animal Crossing

January 6, 2013

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Iwata recently did an interview in which he admitted to being surprised by the popularity of the 3DS Animal Crossing: New Leaf. This is because of how poorly received the Wii game Animal Crossing: City Folk was. He says how the poor Wii game inspired the team behind Animal Crossing to make the 3DS game better then all previous Animal Crossing games. Read the interview below:

Iwata on New Leaf’s consumer demographic

“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.”

Iwata on Animal Crossing: Wild World’s success compared to the disappointing sales of City Folk

“On the (previous generation) Nintendo DS, Animal Crossing received high praise and shocked the world by selling more than 5 million copies [domestically], it become one of the representative games that people would buy for the system. However, the Wii version, it was highly anticipated and we released it into the world but it didn’t go very well, right? That game is, for us, one with many points of reflection.”

Iwata on the team’s approach following City Folk’s disappointment

“At that point, the core members of the Animal Crossing team used this reflection as a spring board, saying ‘Let’s make the next game one that our customers can really enjoy’. I would go so far to say that I honestly felt a tenacity from the nuclear members of the development team. This time, there are many features inserted that make you say ‘You can do this thing?’ and ‘It goes that far?’. In addition, to add an example, the ability we added to create furniture with interesting designs and share it through various means, coupled with our customers’ creativity created an amplification of sorts. It was really interesting. 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.”

Iwata on the popularity of New Leaf’s screenshot function

“Because you can take screenshots anywhere during the game, people are uploading the shots to social media and say ‘Hey, look what I did’ and everyone gets excited. For example, there are plenty of people who have tried and enjoyed the game after seeing people they follow on Twitter talk about it fondly, then developing their own interest and trying it out for themselves.”

Iwata on the popularity of the Animal Crossing: New Leaf Nintendo Direct mini

“We deliver videos called Nintendo Directs to explain about our strengths via video sites, and the Introduction to Animal Crossing video has received 1.6 million hits on Youtube. What’s more is that over half of those views have taken place from smart devices. The game became a topic on social networks, then people would say ‘Watch this and you’ll understand’ and people go ‘Well, that’s cool’ and bought it. It’s not a 3 minute music video, and so for a 47 minute video with developers talking casually about a game to have 1.6 million views is almost impossible, like really something unusual, I think.”

Source: Nintendo Everything

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From → 3DS, DS, Wii

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