Animal Crossing, another Nintendo game bound for iOS, is being delayed until April at the earliest, according to the company’s most recent financial statement. Originally it was set to arrive on iOS by the end of March.
Gamers shouldn’t be too upset, however, as they’ll have Nintendo’s Fire Emblem Heroes — announced at the same time as Animal Crossing, but launching over the next few days — to play instead.
There’s no reason given for the delay in launching Apple Crossing, although it could be strategic.
As Touch Arcade points out, Nintendo has been pretty clear that, while it is releasing games for iOS, this is about getting gamers to buy Nintendo hardware more than anything else — with the games serving as a demo. With that in mind, it makes sense that Nintendo would want to move Animal Crossing to avoid it distracting from the hype around The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Nintendo might not be wrong to do that, either. Another newly-published report from the Wall Street Journal states that, while Nintendo’s much-anticipated Super Mario Run has brought in more than $50 million since launching in December, these sales are viewed as disappointing by Nintendo Chief Executive Tatsumi Kimishima.
The reason? That only a little over 5 percent of customers who downloaded the free version of the game have upgraded to the full version. Kimishima was reportedly optimistic that, despite its $10 asking price, the game would have achieved double-figure conversion rates of free-to-paying customers.
Personally, I’d be surprised if that had too much to do with the delay though. Unlike Super Mario Run, which was basically a premium game with a free demo, Animal Crossing is expected to be a free-to-play — meaning plenty of in-app purchases and a different model for making money.
Unless Nintendo has delayed its launch to add more of these to make up for “lost” money, I’d suggest the strategy argument put forward makes a lot more sense.