Satoru Iwata On Animal Crossing Sales, 56% Of Players Are Female

By Sato . January 8, 2013 . 1:18am


Satoru Iwata talked about the surprising numbers of 3DS and Animal Crossing: New Leaf sales with major news publisher, Nikkei.


Looking back at Nintendo’s profits in March of 2012, you see nothing but the word ‘deficit’ in huge red letters. With the Nintendo 3DS selling poorly even after their price cut in August, things were looking rather bleak for Nintendo. Things changed when Animal Crossing: New Leaf was released in November.



The game with no goals or objectives, where players play as a mayor of their own town to their very own liking had sold far more than expected. In about a month and a half, Animal Crossing: New Leaf had sold more than 2.3 million copies in Japan alone.


“I’ve never seen anything sell like this before” quoted Iwata, as he opened his beloved MacBook to take a further look at the numbers.


“Club Nintendo allows us to take a look at the gender and ages of many of our users. What surprised me the most during Animal Crossing: New Leaf’s first three weeks of release was how well it sold to the female audience of ages 19 to 24.”



This neat chart was put together by Nintendo. The top chart shows the average age and gender of the people that registered Animal Crossing: New Leaf. The bottom chart has the average 3DS (XL included) consumer figures on the left and the ratio of how many people registered Animal Crossing: New Leaf to their 3DS.


96958A88889DE7E2E0EBEAE2E7E2E2E7E2E3E0E2E3E1E2E2E2E2E2E2-DSXZZO5031081005012013000000-PN1-30“What I find interesting is that the 3DS core users consist of 69% male and 31% female, but when I look at the numbers of people that bought Animal Crossing: New Leaf and the 3DS handheld together recently, I see 44% male and 56% female users. It’s quite an astonishing figure.”


“People often debate whether Smartphones will eliminate the need of consoles for gaming. When you look at these numbers, women of ages 19 to 24 are some of the core users of Smartphone games. They say casual female gamers don’t need a console, but after seeing these figures, we’d really like to reconsider that and the true value of console gaming.” exclaimed Satoru Iwata.

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  • komiko12

    If he thinks that those figures are large… then wait until a main series Pokemon game for the 3DS is out.

    • Suicunesol

      I think the thing here is not the figures themselves, but the fact that it’s Animal Crossing that is pulling in those figures. It should be no surprise that a Pokemon game for 3DS will sell millions. He would be more surprised if it didn’t.

    • Tylor Boreas Makimoto

      Well, here comes October :D

  • Shhiiiiit, I know what game I have to get now.

  • gamefreak86

    Smartphone games may look nice but their quality and lack of physical controls are what make them garbage. Long live consoles!

    • ShawnOtakuSomething

      Long live consoles indeed

  • SirRichard

    So they’ve gotten the usual smartphone players onboard with Animal Crossing, but can they convince them to try out other games? Can they repeat this success with that market, and can they put out winners for all? The DS managed to, but what worked for it doesn’t seem to work now, so here’s hoping Nintendo have something up their sleeve.

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      Well, we can only hope here. Who knows, Nintendo some magic sprinkles again this time?^_^

    • Ferofax

      New gamers have to be enticed according to their preferred genre. I believe Fantasy Life goes well with AC. If they like the RPG elements there, they themselves will start looking for similar RPG elements in other games, which then introduce new genres to them.

  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    Who said that female gamer is not a proffitable market here? Hope Nintendo will be able to tap more on this market.(By releasing an otome game? Like Pokemon dating sims? Where the girl M.C is able to date all the male or Elite Four male chara?^_^)


      Dating? In a Pokemon game… oh please.

      I’m going to be an ass but why people want to date virtual people in games that don’t have nothing to do with romance in the first place? I seen comments like this regarding games like Kingdom Hearts, Sengoku Basara and now Pokemon. What is wrong with people…

      • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

        Hmmmm…… because people wanted to enjoy something they can’t enjoy in real life? If Love Plus have not show how people can even fall in love with game chara there. Why not this?


          But the focus of Love Plus is that, dating and living a life with a virtual girl.

          I love and appreciate some dating sims like Tokimeki Memorial and Visual Novels (BIG FAN of Type-Moon) but when i read things like “Oh, why can’t Roxas date Axel in 358/2 days” or even “Wee need a mode where you can go out with Magoichi in Sengoku Basara” i cannot understand.

          But I admit that i like good relationship system like the ones implemented in Pandora’s Tower, Xenoblade and the Persona series because it wasn’t just a gimmick, the fact that it actually affect gameplay (Xenoblade), the ending of the story (Pandora’s Tower) and net you cool bonus (Persona) just make it worthy.

          Sorry if there are some grammatical errors.

          • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

            Then? The main focus of spin-off is? To do things unable to do on the mainline of the game and of course fulflilling some of the gamers dream.
            I never mentioned it shoud exist on the main title but they can just come out with some random spin-off like this and many female gamers who loves Pokemon will storm the game.

      • Oh, get off your high horse. Why do people want to mass-murder alien monster zombie terrorists in games? Why do Hollywood blockbusters always have an arbitrary romantic subplot? Why does Captain Kirk bang every implausibly hot alien chick he meets? It’s fantasy fulfillment, dummy.

      • M’iau M’iaut

        Pokemon has always been a social game. Interactions within the game, interactions outside the game. It’s not that far of a leap to want to take that girl or boy trainer to the soda shop rather than beat up their pocket monsters for the umpteeth dozen time.

        There is nothing wrong with people just because they have ideas or wishes different from your own.

  • Just girls in Japan maybe. The average 19-24 female in the west are not interested in games.

    • Pretty sure the success of the Wii, mobile and social games has disproven this outdated notion.

      • A girl having a phone and having Angry Birds in it doesn’t make her a gamer.

        • And yet, despite the poorly-defined exclusivity of the “gamer” label, buying and playing video games makes one a video game consumer – gender be damned! Who knew?

    • Juuu

      This sort of statement honestly ALWAYS confuses me, as a 19 year old female, with a large number of female friends who are interested in games. Most of my friends at least play some sort of social or mobile game, and many of them have dedicated handhelds, if not consoles and PC libraries to go with. I’m not sure what “average” entails, but an “average” one of my female friends probably likes games.

      • Well, maybe you and I simply don’t know the same kind of girls.

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      I would love to shot down that statement here considering i have seen more girl actually playing social games/life sims games like (Harvest Moon.) Compare to the males.

      • That statement is based on my own experience through my 26 yr old life. Of all the girls I’ve met I can say maybe 1 of 10 are gamers. The other spend their time, you know, wasting their lives with guys and dancing in clubs.

    • puchinri

      I’m not sure I’d agree. I think it’s just a matter of pinpointing their interests as well. My friend is into anime a lot, but she’s not a gamer. However, we recently played Elebits and she loved it (because she got t be destructive and shoot things). My sister is on the borderline of being a gamer and not, but she will definitely buy something cute, a dancing game or a shooting game.

      It really just depends on how they appeal to people and market to them, but that goes for guys and gals. It’s normal to assume that males are the most common gamers, but when they play about the same things as most females do (CoD, etc), it’s harder to remember that it’s not impossible to appeal to the female audience that isn’t as varied a gamer as their male half.

  • So, uh, women mean the handheld market won’t die? Girl power, then!! I am ready to be objectified!

    • Slayven19

      Didn’t know you were a female, of course that’s a good thing depending on how you look at it since gender on a site like this shouldn’t come into the equation unless there’s a good reason.

      • I am a manly man of man. I was just making a joke.

  • l777l

    What’s the definition of “core 3DS user”? And what makes this female affinity to Animal crossing astonishing?

    • puchinri

      Good questions, especially the first.

      I was wondering how well Ninty Club users account for 3DS owners in Japan (especially compared to Western territories), and then who uses the 3DS most and for what.

      • l777l

        Yes, “core 3DS user”, as Mr. Iwata uses the term could simply mean “is a member of Club Nintendo” (and has shared data on Animal Crossing). It’s still interesting, but one would have to be careful with such data. And I agree with you.

  • puchinri

    I was looking at this info a day or so ago and it really stuck with me. It’s really interesting. I mean, obviously Ninty has plenty of female fans in different places, but I do think they’re taking more of the social/casual crowd (for lack of better word) and that it is pretty fascinating. It’s great that Iwata really pays attention to this information as well and takes it to heart.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    my grandma loves Animal Crossing

  • Göran Isacson

    I do look forward to finding out what resulted in this game becoming a sales success. Was there a good marketing campaign? Was it released just right? Is Animal Crossing just that beloved in Japan? So much data, so little ability to discern it all…

  • Solace

    Yes, please reconsider the idea that women gamers are all casual-only smartphone players. We like our console games, dangit. Don’t ignore us!

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