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Iwata Apologizes for the Shortage of Animal Crossing

by Minoru Yamaizumi - December 1, 2012, 6:31 pm PST
Total comments: 7 Source: http://www.nintendo.co.jp/3ds/egdj/info/index.html..., http://www.nintendo.co.jp/3ds/egdj/info/movie.html...

Special memory cards caused the short supply.

It is not uncommon for Japanese companies to apologize for supply shortages of their hot-selling product (they sometimes even stop selling such a product), but it may be unprecedented to publish a movie where the president apologizes for it.

Nintendo recently issued a document and movie online that apologize and explain to customers the reason for the shortage of retail copies of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, which has been outselling every other game in Japan, including Call of Duty: Black Ops II, since it was released on November 8. 

The document is pretty short and formulaic. After an apology, it briefly explains the reason for the shortage is that the game is selling more than they expected, and special memory cards used for the game are of small availability and cannot be resupplied soon. It concludes by asking customers wanting Animal Crossing to wait for a while.

The video, featuring Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata, is about nine minutes long and similar to a Nintendo Direct "Mini." Iwata, in his ordinary dark three-piece suit, speaks to the viewer (however, in this serious video, the polygonal head did not show up), explaining the situation in detail. As you may expect if you have played Animal Crossing on GameCube, New Leaf also requires a large save space for recording the data of houses and their interior and the entire village. For this reason, a retail copy of New Leaf, unlike all the other 3DS games, contains a memory chip called SLC-NAND, which enables the game to record a large amount of data quickly. SLC-NAND is not a major type of NAND and its supply is, therefore, limited. Nintendo arranged for SLC-NAND and its controller chip well in advance, but New Leaf has been selling much better than expected, making them in short supply even though Nintendo got them before the original appointed date. Iwata is afraid that this situation will not improve soon because it generally takes months to obtain newly ordered semiconductors and they cannot use memory, which would be otherwise used for other 3DS games (for the reason mentioned above).

In the latter half of the video, Iwata explains some ways to obtain a digital copy of New Leaf, including buying a download card (which are also in short supply), and through the 3DS XL bundle pack, which starts shipping in mid-December.

Finally, Iwata reassured those Animal Crossing fans who have not gotten the game yet that special items scheduled to be digitally distributed for a limited period will be made available again after the shortage is solved, as will special items available in the convenience store 7-Eleven.


Download cards are in short supply? Don't people know you can just buy it directly from the eShop?

KikoriMinoru Yamaizumi, Japan CorrespondentDecember 01, 2012

Good point. Many people just don't know that.
Some others, like me, want a plastic download card as the only physical symbol of the game.
Besides, download cards are a little cheaper.

From the last Famicast, it sounds like the eShop in Japan took a nosedive on Animal Crossing's release. Maybe they just never bothered to check back?

KikoriMinoru Yamaizumi, Japan CorrespondentDecember 02, 2012

Or most casual gamers just don't know the existence of eShop...
To me it's weird that so many people wants a physical copy of Animal Crossing, which is perfect for digital purchase.

ejamerDecember 02, 2012

Quote from: Kikori

To me it's weird that so many people wants a physical copy of Animal Crossing, which is perfect for digital purchase.

I can see both sides. Animal Crossing is the perfect game to buy digitally for me.  But for someone (such as my wife) who won't play many/any other retail releases, buying the physical package is probably more desirable. Just having the cute box and game card are nice bonuses.

MrPhishfoodDecember 02, 2012

Kudos to Nintendo. They didn't want any old memory chip, they wanted the best so gameplay is uninterrupted. Anyway this is the one game you want in your 3DS all the time, why settle for cartridge?

Mop it upDecember 03, 2012

If somebody wants to share the game with someone else (which I imagine is a case for quite a few people), they'd want to get a physical copy to go around.

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