Iwata surprised by Animal Crossing 3DS success, large female audience

Animal Crossing: New Leaf has arguably been the success of the year for Nintendo. Having released in Japan in November, the 3DS title raced past 2 million copies sold before New Year, and still features high in the weekly charts.

However, it seems not even Nintendo president Satoru Iwata was expecting the quick-fire success that New Leaf found. Speaking to Nikkei (translation by NeoGAF), he points out that download sales of game alone have been surprisingly high, hinting that at least 500,000 downloads have been made since launch. New Leaf has on top of that sold around 2 million physical copies in stores.

Yet what left Iwata particularly "dumbfounded" was the diversity of those buying the game from launch. Iwata-san revealed that by Nintendo's calculations, 69% of 3DS purchasers are male, compared to 31% female. But looking just at the launch period of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, 44% of 3DS buyers were male and 56% female.

One of the reasons New Leaf is doing so well on 3DS may have been Nintendo's development team's need to reflect on the state of the franchise after the release of Animal Crossing: City Folk on Wii. Iwata candidly confirmed that the game, despite being highly anticipated, "didn't go very well" after launch.

Iwata also used the interview to explain how social media could drive Nintendo's franchise's foward, and reiterare his commitment to not alter the way the company sells its familiar games in a world of growing DLC and 'freemium' titles, so it's well worth checking out the rest of the extracts.

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