See How Animal Crossing’s Debut Stacks Up Against 3DS’ Other Best-Sellers

By Ishaan . November 17, 2012 . 1:30pm

Last week saw the release of Animal Crossing: New Leaf in Japan, where the game debuted with 603,064 copies sold in its first week on shelves. Note that that number doesn’t include digital sales, which accounted for an additional 200,000 copies sold.


That makes Animal Crossing: New Leaf the highest-debuting Nintendo 3DS game so far. Here’s a look at how the other contenders so far stack up, with first week sales provided for each:


Super Mario 3D Land – 343,492

New Super Mario Bros. 2 – 407,503

Mario Kart 7 – 423,619

Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry’s Wonderland 3D – 513,183

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate – 521,959


The next major Nintendo 3DS releases are Dragon Quest VII: Warriors of Eden in February and Monster Hunter 4 in March. The latter will almost certainly post the highest debut for a Nintendo 3DS game when it launches. However, Dragon Quest VII, too, has a chance of debuting higher at retail than Animal Crossing. Here’s a look at the first week sales for the Dragon Quest remakes on Nintendo DS:


(20070 Dragon Quest IV – 597,301

(2008) Dragon Quest V – 643,764

(2010) Dragon Quest VI – 906,458


Of course, whether or not Dragon Quest VII will be able to beat Animal Crossing’s combined sales across retail and digital (about 800,000) in its first week remains to be seen.

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  • WOW!That a BIG Number.

  • Right up there with Dragon Quest games.  Very impressive!

  • LunarKnite

    Wow, didn’t know the remake of Dragon Quest 6 did so well on its debut. A big jump from the 650K of DQ5.

    • Skyer Ist

      DQ7 was even more popular when it first released (best selling game of series till DQ9 arrived). So remake of 7 can be most successfull of all DQ remakes.

      • LunarKnite

        I wouldn’t be surprised if it did. Big sales should hopefully translate to localizations elsewhere around the world.

  • Well with the DS game selling over 5 million in Japan alone. We know it’s one of Japan’s Killer Apps. 2D Mario, Pokemon, Monster Hunter, Dragon Quest, and sort of Final Fantasy. The Wii game had an Monster Hunter on console effect. So AC really is a big game there if it stays on handhelds.

    • Skyer Ist

      Yep. 3DS has all of them D:
      Mario, Pokemon (6 gen in 2013, please), AC, DQ, MH… I wonder how Tomodachi Collection 2 will gonna sale. First one was true sleeping hit – with 90K debut and 3,6M total sales in Japan. In the end it even had a personal special show on Television. Nintendo going to push hard 2nd game (one of the last japanese Nintendo Directs showed an amazing footage with Iwata D:). It’s social oriented, like AC. I think it’ll do great, too. Tomodachi & Luigi’s Mansion 2 – next big Nintendo games for 3DS in Japan for the first months of 2013.

      • komiko12

        I think that Pokemon game is coming soon enough. In the anime, Ash has already encountered Drayden and possible contestants for the Pokemon league are being introduced.

        Usually the next series is released at around the same time as the games.

  • riceisnice

    Can someone say, Animal Crossing spinoff series? Or maybe a second movie?

  • The more Animal Crossing I see, the more anxious I get. I wanna be mayor, I wanna be mayor! :'(
    (I’m incredibly happy to see it doing so well in Japan!)

  • Solomon_Kano

    Wow. Had no idea AC was that big. I’m expecting DQVII to do about the same as VI. It could top it, but the DS did have a larger install base at the time. Then again, the DQM remake probably guarantees that the DQ audience is already on the platform. So this should be good.

  • Komicturtle

    This is fantastic. The bigger the install base.

    The MORE games come. 3DS is really doing far better than what it did a year ago and at a faster rate than the DS at the time. Awesome..

  • Ethan_Twain

    Okay, someone tell me if I’m figuring this wrong.  Are Dragon Quest, Monster Hunter, and Super Mario not the three best selling video game franchises in Japan? Not in terms of total unit sales over time, but the three that sell the best right now?  I’m gonna be frank, Nintendo seems to have this 3DS thing locked down 100%.  Throw in a few other miscellaneous Square Enix JRPGs (Bravely Default) and all the rest of Nintendo’s first party lineup… I mean, I’ve never felt more optimistic about a system in my life.

    I guess the question now is, what would it take for that success to go international?  A lot of the absolute killer apps in this list wouldn’t even chart elsewhere in the world.

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      Don’t forget SMT4 is coming next year after the long wait for the SMT fans.^_^

      I kinda think 3DS is going to grow bigger next year.^_^ Now……if only more of the game get localized.T_T

    • I think for more 3DS software to succeed outside of Japan, it will need to be curated carefully. Nintendo’s own software will obviously do well, but third-party software is a trickier situation, owing to the general indifference of the west toward portable systems as well as some of the games that are on them. 

      With 3DS in the west, there are a couple of goals that need to be kept in mind, in my opinion:

      1. Preserving the portable market that’s willing to support $30-$40 games:

      We’re heading toward a future where dedicated gaming-only portables will not be a viable platform. At the same time, however, phones are not a viable platform for the kinds of meatier games we’re used to on dedicated portables, owing to the low price points that people expect from phone games. 

      With this in mind, I think Nintendo—and maybe software developers, if they can be convinced—would do well to try and preserve the (relatively) small but sustainable niche of core gamers on portables. This will have to be done both by introducing experiences that phones can’t replicate (as Nintendo always mention) as well as turning to dedicated audiences who will always support their favourite games.

      That’s goal #1. How to preserve that market as we move to the next generation of portables in a few years from now, and carry that audience and their buying habits over? 

      Goal #2 is more short-term and addresses your question. It will also help facilitate goal #1.

      2. Selling more 3DS software in the west in the immediate future:

      This is where careful curation and smart deals on Nintendo’s part come in. The west is largely indifferent to portable devices, but there are several franchises out there in the case of which this isn’t true. In Nintendo’s case, this applies to virtually all of their software, so they’re fine in any case.

      In terms of third-party software, Final Fantasy games, and even Monster Hunter to an extent, are among those that fans are gladly willing to buy on portable devices. In fact, JRPGs in general found a rather nice home on the Nintendo DS last generation. This is something that could carry over into this generation, especially given that 3DS is closer to a console than the DS was, and is a very mainstream device on account of being a Nintendo system.

      Monster Hunter is out of the picture, since the Wii U version will likely take the spotlight away from the 3DS one. However, Final Fantasy is the question mark here. Are there Final Fantasy games in development for the 3DS? Judging by Square Enix’s past habits, there almost certainly are. It would be wise to have these games released in the west as soon as possible, where they can help create a market for more RPGs that follow after them.

      The same goes for other popular franchises that westerners have demonstrated a willingness to buy on portable devices. Nintendo’s licensing department can and should be talking to publishers about bringing these to 3DS in the event that they aren’t already being developed for it.

      Fulfilling this goal will, in the long term, hopefully lead to goal #1 being fulfilled as well, and will ensure that the portable market doesn’t lose its most loyal supporters as we make the transition from dedicated portables to more diverse portable devices in the future. It will also give 3DS software sales a boost in the west (although, none of these games will ever be the kind of chart-toppers they are in Japan, owing to cultural differences, of course).

      • Ethan_Twain

        Wow!  Ishaan comes through to lay down some knowledge… per usual :)  So upon reading your suggested gameplan I checked the charts to see what games had sold particularly well on the DS in the west… and it’s really all about the pokemon isn’t it?  Mario and Mario Kart are big, Animal Crossing is big… but my lord, even pokemon remakes and spin offs sold bucket loads on the DS.  Those were the games that jumped out at me when looking for popular franchises westerners have demonstrated a willingness to buy on portable devices.

        It did surprise me to see the numbers Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story netted.  That was an extraordinary game… does Siliconera have any clues as to what Alpha Dream is up to?

        It strikes me that the strategy of trying to collect a stable of high quality games for the enthusiast gaming crowd not only doesn’t necessarily play to Nintendo’s strengths as a developer (they seem to be at their best designing for the larger market lately), but didn’t you tell me that the market for portables in the West always starts with children and builds from there?

        Two last questions quick:  I saw that Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 days turned a handy profit on the DS… so what’s up with Kindom Hearts 3D not bringing in a repeat performance?  Do you think perhaps underwhelming sales of that game are maybe why we haven’t seen so much Final Fantasy on the platform?

        And second:  How did you get the cool bold text?  I would totally use bold text headers if I knew how to change the font.

        As always, thanks so much.

        • Scirm

          And I wonder if Nintendo would have bigger profit if they unlock our consoles? I mean, for us, here in EU, regionlock is pain in the ass. Finally we got Shin Megami Tensei Overclocked and SMT 2, but it is pretty rare and expensive. I even wonder if we get new Harvest Moon :(
          …For me it is even harder to get decent game for good price. I am living in Poland, where many people don’t know anything about modern Nintendo. They are all living in times where Nintendo means NES(and I don’t mean original NES, we were flooded by Pegasus ). Having X360 and PS3 is more sexy than Wii, because Wii is for kids(and none of them beat World 8-4 so I think they simply don’t know how game for kids looks ;P). That’s why we lack of good games for Nintendo’s consoles. Sometimes I think that in post-CCCP countries it depends on “How easy is to play pirated games”. Here, games are just pretty expensive, and of course, some people are a morons and saying “Why I have to buy a game, when I can get it for free?”, I am waiting till price drops and buying it. And because of X360 running on DVDs this is the most popular console here.

        • Well, Nintendo’s own portable games always do very well in the west, so whenever the inevitable Pokémon comes out for 3DS, it’s going to be huge. Ideally, Pokémon should have come out early and maybe helped create a market for more RPG sales on the device in the west, but it looks like they wanted to squeeze a little bit more out of the Nintendo DS with B/W2 first, while they hammer away at the 3DS game.

          I was thinking more about third-party stuff. Kingdom Hearts, as you pointed out, did very well on DS. I think the reason it isn’t doing so great on 3DS is because the story at this point is just too convoluted and confusing for anyone to follow. KH3D, especially, ties in to a lot of the previous games. Final Fantasy is the other big one. I don’t think KH sales have any bearing on Final Fantasy, and I’m fairly confident we’ll see FF games on the 3DS in the years to come. It’s just a question of what those games will be.

          Aside from those two, I think support from other smaller franchises with dedicated audiences would help a little bit. Persona, Megaten etc. Those aren’t going to sell hundreds of thousands of copies, of course, but every little bit that goes into preserving the core market helps.

          The portable market does start young and then branch out from there, but I feel that applies primarily to hardware sales. Once the hardware has sold a certain amount, I feel like you can take a different approach with software, by focusing on different areas at once (younger audiences, more niche but dedicated audiences etc.). That allows you to keep software sales up and preserve the core market that’s still into playing games on dedicated portables.

          Unfortunately, I don’t know what Alpha Dream are up to! Presumably, they’re working on the next Mario & Luigi game, since that’s primarily what they seem to have done over the last few years. Or maybe Nintendo will put them on new projects as well, like they did with Intelligent Systems, who developed Pushmo and Crashmo. IS have worked on a lot these past couple of years though.

          Also, Disqus allows for both bold an italicized text! You can use and (without the spaces) for bold and and for italics. :)

      • Ethan_Twain

        Okay, so I gave this some more thought.  Nintendo wants to sell more 3DS software in the West in the immediate future.  Nearly all 3DS development happens in Japan, so I got to thinking about which third party Japanese franchises still sell well in the West.  I realized that the 3DS has already locked down an awful lot of them.  Kingdom Hearts, Resident Evil (twice!), Street Fighter, SMT (has been growing to be less niche than it once was, so it goes on the list), Metal Gear Solid, Ace Attorney, Professor Layton… what other Japanese franchises still have appreciable market clout in the export market?  I’m coming up with Final Fantasy and… Soul Calibur I guess.  Devil May Cry maybe?
        In terms of securing the brands and companies popular with Western enthusiasts, it seems like Nintendo’s actually done an awfully good job.  Sure, there were some ports in there and Ace Attorney didn’t really belong on the list at all, but I think the main takeaway has to be that the 3DS is already enjoying an awful lot of support from Japanese studios.

        The question then becomes:  Is it no longer viable to operate as a video game device without Western development support?  The only big 3DS games I can think of being developed in the West are Adventure Time (licensed) and Castlevania (Very clearly Konami’s idea, not Mercury Steam’s).  I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect we’ll ever see hardware with better software support out of Japan, because on top of everything listed here there’s also all of Nintendo’s first party stuff.  Basically, if this doesn’t cut it then I think the business model is ever gonna cut it.  Not in the West, not any more.

        Nintendo’s been very aggressive in securing more outside partnerships in the last couple years (two titles with Platinum games, Smash with Namco Bandai, Metroid with Team Ninja, Fatal Frame with Konami… etc) but the only Western partnership I can think of is Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon.

        So in conclusion:

        Why does Nintendo only work with Japanese developers, just how much more support could they have reasonably gotten from those Japanese developers for the 3DS, and is maybe the main reason for slow Western growth this complete dependence on Japanese software?

  • piichan

    I hope the rest of the world gets a limited edition AC 3ds too :) 

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