Amiibo Intro Skit:
Digby: Isabelle, you seem down. Has work been tough?
Isabelle: Everything is tough! I heard there isn’t a new Animal Crossing game. I don’t know what to do.
Digby: Hmmm, that seems really odd considering all the different people who love living here.
Isabelle: What do you mean? Is Animal Crossing a popular place to live?
Digby: It is! A bunch of people really love it here. I’m sure they’d be really excited for a new game.
Isabelle: Really!? Are you telling me there’s some hope?
Animal Crossing Appeals to More Demographics
Would Animal Crossing sell Nintendo Switch consoles? One term I hear a lot is “system seller.” This refers to games that are so big or exciting that people would go out and buy a system solely for that game. Often people are waiting for that one game to get them over the edge to finally purchase the console they’ve been eyeing.
Sometimes I hear people express that they don’t think Animal Crossing is a system seller. However, I feel that the demographics paint a different picture. Today, I want to look at the demographics of the Animal Crossing fan base. The goal is to see why I think Nintendo would sell more Switch consoles by putting that game out.
Nintendo’s Current Player Demographics
Demographics play a huge role in any business. Knowing your market allows you to target your products and services appropriately. One of the big advantages is recognizing which markets you have failed to reach or make a huge impact in.
In April of 2018, Nintendo held an investor meeting that recapped its 2017/2018 fiscal year. As a note, Nintendo’s fiscal year goes from April to March instead of the typical January to December. At the meeting, Nintendo released some key insight into the player demographics for the Nintendo Switch.
The following chart shows the Usage Per Household for the Nintendo Switch purchaser. From this chart, we find that 46% of users are ages 25 to 34 and 90% of users are male. Hey, that describes me. Nintendo has done an excellent job of appealing to core gamers with the Nintendo Switch. What Nintendo has yet to do is reach other market segments with the Switch.
Two major segments Nintendo has yet to reach are people under the age of 18 and women. The chart shows that only 14% of the Nintendo Switch’s Audience is 18 or under. 2% are 12 and under, 5% are 13 to 15, and 7% are 16 to 18. Meanwhile, only 10% of Switch owners are female. These are huge market segments that Nintendo is expected to appeal to more than other gaming companies.
When many people think of Nintendo, they think of it as the family friendly option for gaming. However, their current demographics definitely do not display that. In fact, it looks like what people typically expect a gamer to be. I believe Nintendo recognizes that and wants the Switch to reach other audiences.
What Labo Means for Nintendo
If we’re all being honest, we can all say we were not expecting Nintendo to put out something like Labo. The cardboard kits show that Nintendo is starting to dip its toe into something new. The most important message I got from Nintendo when they first announced Labo was that they were aiming at provide content that would appeal to a younger audience.
When they first announced Labo, they mentioned that this was a product that was meant to appeal to children and children at heart. It was clear to me that Nintendo is trying to recapture the gamers who fall into the 12 and under age range since that accounts for only 2% of their current audience. After seeing the reaction from parents and kids, I think Nintendo is going to make a strong push with that demographic.
Why Animal Crossing Demographics Are Important
I know I know, it’s been half the video and I haven’t talked Animal Crossing yet. But I had to establish the setting with Nintendo’s current demographics.
In an interview with Mr. Iwata, Iwata stated that Animal Crossing’s largest demographic was Women ages 19 to 24. Iwata said: “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.” Source
If you look at this chart, you’ll find that the biggest demographics for New Leaf were female Ages 10 through 12 and female ages 19 to 24. Another good point on this is that male ages 10 through 12 were also pretty high in the demographics. Animal Crossing is a game with a player base that leans towards the demographics Nintendo has failed to reach thus far.
Funny enough, Iwata was right that many female gamers are playing games on their smartphones. Animal Crossing Pocket Camp’s demographics skew heavily female. Better yet, the largest player base for Pocket Camp is adult women. In fact, over 75% of Pocket Camp players were female. Source
Nintendo also seems to be very aware about the different players they can appeal to with certain titles. Animal Crossing Mobile was first announced alongside Fire Emblem Mobile and Kimishima had this to say about choosing those two games for their mobile endeavors:
“We chose Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem as titles to follow Miitomo from the viewpoint of increasing the diverse types of consumers interested in Nintendo, and widening opportunities for game play. The Animal Crossing series has been played by a wide range of consumers including children and women. I think there is a good chance that those consumers would enjoy this.” Source
Nintendo is at a point where it has been effective in reaching the core gaming demographic. Kimishima mentioned that they are aiming to sell 20 million Switch consoles during this fiscal year. If they plan on keeping up that momentum and keep selling Switch consoles, they are going to need to put out games that will draw in more demographics.
I really believe Animal Crossing is a huge game for Nintendo because it would draw in so many young and female gamers. Even the comments on my videos and social media have shown that many people are waiting on an Animal Crossing game to finally purchase the Switch.
More About Animal Crossing Switch!
Thank you for watching this episode! A new episode of Is it Time for Animal Crossing Switch will release every Friday until E3, 2018! We’ll look at a different part of Animal Crossing and why I think it should get announced at E3 this year.
If you want more from Animal Crossing Switch, listen to Haken: An Animal Crossing Podcast. My podcast about all things Animal Crossing. I put out new episodes every Tuesday!
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