Sunday, January 6, 2013

How Animal Crossing and Its Social Aspect Can Entice People to Buy Games

Animal Crossing Social Aspect
Take this: women who are 19 to 24 years old in Japan make up the large part of people who bought Animal Crossing: New Leaf. While I thought it was nothing to take note of, Satoru Iwata tells this data is surprising.

The Smartphone People

This particular demographic are the smartphone buyers in Japan. And in a world where iPhones and Androids are seemingly taking over, it looks like these people are still into gaming. They buy dedicated handhelds where they can play games they cannot play on their smartphones. Iwata noted in an interview:

“The common argument going on right now is that since smart phones exist, there’s no need for specialised game machines anymore, right? But, these 19 to 24 year old women are the ‘smart phone people’. We often say that casual female users do not need specialised gaming machines, but here we see them reconfirming the value of those systems.”

I think we can also attribute the success of Animal Crossing: New Leaf with its social aspect - the screenshot tool.

Upload a Screenshot to Twitter

When you do something fancy inside the game, you can take a screenshot of it which you can upload to your social network of choice- be it Facebook or Twitter. Satoru Iwata noted there were people on Twitter who first saw the game via screenshots statuses from the people they follow. This alone made them to try it.

I am now wondering why a screenshot tool was never present in ALL 3DS games. Remember those images you can save in Super Mario 3D Land? Totally cool. Thanks to the Internet browser inside the handheld that this has become possible. It would be amazing if there are special apps that can extend its function, or even a standalone application that can do just that, even better than the 3DS camera.

The Need to be Social

The social aspect is nothing to be put aside. While lots of iPhone games have these options to post scores or images to Facebook straight from their gaming app, dedicated portable gaming consoles do not have this function. One is because they simply cannot - the Nintendo DS can connect to WiFi but you almost cannot upload anything and there's simply not enough games that support it. The other reason - perhaps at that time, the biggest video game companies of the world simply do not realize the power of social networking to drive more people into buying their games. Even though the device can connect to social networks, the games simply doesn't have any social aspects.

But it's changing now. Animal Crossing: New Leaf will definitely be popular everywhere. And when people start uploading screenshots to Twitter, more people will get enticed. When this happens, upcoming games will surely have that function as well. This, in turn will entice more people and soon, the Nintendo 3DS becomes a viable social engine.

Truly, when Animal Crossing: New Leaf come to our shores, it won't be long when Nintendo realize how a tiny add-on, like its screenshot tool can probably take the handheld into new heights.