The number of Nintendo 3DS users that have connected their device to the Internet has reached 72% worldwide, Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, reported at the company’s financial results briefing yesterday.
72% worldwide is a 10% increase from the connection rate in 2011. Iwata shared that the Internet-connection ratio is particularly high in Japan and the U.S. where it has crossed the 80% mark and is still on the rise. In comparison, Iwata says, the connection rate in Europe an Australia is relatively lower.
One of the things that Nintendo 3DS users connect their systems to the Internet for, at least in Japan, is to watch Nintendo Direct videos on the Nintendo eShop. In fact, Iwata says, the eShop is currently the most popular way for Japanese 3DS users to catch up with Nintendo Direct after it has already aired. Iwata reveals that even Nintendo were surprised to learn of this.
Of course, 3DS owners also use the Nintendo eShop to download games. Without any advertisements in the mass media to promote downloadable versions of packaged games, download versions account for 3-10% of total sales worldwide, depending on the game in question, Iwata says.
This brings us to an interesting point. Animal Crossing: New Leaf will be the very first title where Nintendo will actively promote the downloadable version of the game. The TV commercial embedded above has the narrator saying at the end: “Download version available, always with you, never lost.”
Additionally, as previously reported, Nintendo will release an Animal Crossing: New Leaf Nintendo 3DS bundle (right) in Japan this Fall. This bundle will include a special edition Nintendo 3DS that has a download copy of the new Animal Crossing game loaded onto the SD card. Similar bundles for New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate will also be released in Japan.
Why this special TV commercial treatment for Animal Crossing in particular? Because Nintendo feel that Animal Crossing is the kind of game that users would prefer to have on their system at all times, owing to its communication features. By raising awareness of the download version of a popular game, Nintendo say they’ll make consumers aware of download titles in general.
Additionally, Iwata reveals that the Animal Crossing: New Leaf 3DS bundle has had so many pre-orders that Nintendo have had to arrange for additional production.
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