Animal Crossing: New Leaf Flying Off Shelves; Download Version Over 200k

By Ishaan . November 12, 2012 . 10:00am

Last week, a Japanese retailer reported that Nintendo shipped 500,000 copies of Animal Crossing: New Leaf to Japanese stores in its launch week. Now, we have updated figures straight from Nintendo themselves.


Today, Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, revealed via the official Animal Crossing Twitter in Japan that Nintendo shipped 600,000 copies of the game to stores in its first week. Despite the large shipment, it appears there may be shortages as Iwata says Nintendo will ship another 200,000 copies of the game this week and asks fans to be patient until they reach stores.


Additionally, Iwata also revealed that the game’s download cards, which are available at stores and allow players to buy a download code for the game, have sold out, too. And finally, the most interesting detail—Animal Crossing: New Leaf has been purchased digitally over 200,000 times.


(Note that it isn’t clear whether the 200,000 figure includes download card sales or refers only to purchases made directly off the Nintendo eShop.)


Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a first for Nintendo in that they promoted the downloadable version of the game via a TV commercial. By doing so, Nintendo hope to expose more people to the Nintendo eShop.


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  • malek86

    Given the usual rate of digital sales (which has been estimated to 3-10% by Nintendo before), I’d guess most of those 200.000 purchases are via digital cards, rather than through the eShop.

    It’s still an interesting number, because it means people are willing to buy a digital game via a simple code. But, if what I imagine is true, apparently it also means that people aren’t quite as ready to buy a game outside of stores. I wonder why.

    • raitouniverse

      Well we can attribute that to Japan which, unlike other territories, are a tad slow at adapting to downloadable stuff.

      • malek86

        But these games are still downloadable, you buy the code at the store and then you input it on the eShop to get the downloadable game.

        I think the problem might be due to people who only choose to buy a game as an impulse purchase, which is more likely to happen when you’re in a store (or when digital prices are extremely low, like on Steam).

        • Skyer Ist

          It’s very simple. People coming to the shops to buy a cartridge, but it’s sold out everywhere. So already staying in store, people actually buying a DL card. Something like this ^ ^ . AC already #2 on all time eShop chart in Japan. NSMB 2 just #18.

          HYPE for AC in Japan is just insane. Thousands of posts on message boards, RTs on twitter… Just wow.

        • raitouniverse

          Yes, but that’s only because they’re at the store to buy the points physically. As opposed to using credit to buy it.

    • Suicunesol

      Perhaps we can attribute that to the fact that kids don’t have paypals and credit cards to use on their 3DSs. They usually only use cash, so any online purchases are few.

      • malek86

        Yeah, I forgot about that. I guess it woud be a problem. Nintendo’s choice of selling digital cards makes a lot of sense in this context.

    • MrRobbyM

      I think it’s just what we’re accustomed to. We like to have something as proof of purchase or something physical. That, and what @Suicunesol:disqus said.

  • Wowzerz. O_o Good lord… it is super popular eh? I’ll pre-order it sometime before it releases next year.

  • Impressive, didn’t realize AC was quite that popular.

    • Skyer Ist

       DS one sold 5M lifetime in Japan.

  • I’m so happy it’s selling well! Now to wait…as patiently as I can…for the US date…*twitches*

  • Ethan_Twain

    You know, I’m kind of sad to read this.  Not because I wanted the game to sell poorly or anything but… this is the end of an era.  Once digital sales become a prevalent distribution method even for major releases, we’re never going to have reliable sales figures again.  And that’s a bummer.

    • puchinri

      Well, even in this case, their physical sales still did way more numbers than the digital and are still going, obviously. And I think there will be ways to make that information reliable (Ninty may be sorting through the info and may release it later?). 

    • Tim

       I wonder how many of those just opted for the digital copy after seeing the physical one being sold out.

    • Tom_Phoenix

      “Once digital sales become a prevalent distribution method…”

      That’s not going to happen, so you have little reason for concern.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething


  • SirRichard

    I suppose that’s one advantage of a simultaneous digital release; sales aren’t necessarily hampered by stock, so if a game takes off better than expected (it’s rare for it to be so extreme, I know, but it can happen) it can rack up sales even if there’s stock shortages. 

    Though, if they’re relying on download cards (and I don’t entirely blame them) then there’s still a bit of a stock issue, though it’s certainly easier to send out tons of codes to back up regular copies.

  • idrawrobots

    I am downloading this one. I would hate to have to swap cartridges just to make my rounds in my town.

    • Kevin Tan

      I’m in the same boat too.  A 3DS with me = gussy up the town for a few mins during a work break at will without having to change carts out.

  • Incognito

    Hope this means we get a playable AC rep in SSB4.

    • Ergo

      Tom Nook defeats foes by trapping them in a life of indentured servitude via outrageous mortgage rates?

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