Nintendo's attempt to penetrate the mobile gaming market has yielded significantly positive results yet again. From the riotous popularity of its first mobile title, Miitomo, to the mass appeal of its second, Super Mario Run, to the enduring fanfare for its third, Fire Emblem Heroes, Nintendo is on a winning streak.
That seems to be the case with Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, which according to reports was downloaded 15 million times in less than a week, a triumph for both Nintendo and the Animal Crossing franchise.
That figure, which comes from market analyst Sensor Tower, puts it ahead of Fire Emblem Heroes, but behind Super Mario Run, which was downloaded 32 million times in the same amount of time. Even still, 15 million for a franchise most people aren't familiar with is an impressive achievement.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is of course a spinoff of the highly beloved Animal Crossing series. The game is essentially about living in a village, with anthropomorphic animals as the player's neighbors, which they can talk to, send letters to, give gifts to, and do a bunch more stuff. But beyond that, Animal Crossing is a game about the fun of being alone, exploring, and doing whatever one wants, be it fossil-digging, fishing, swimming, bug-catching, decorating, and designing clothes. It's one of those games that sound unappetizing on paper but really shine when one is actually playing it.
Pocket Camp is a bit different, though. Instead of a village, players are settled in a campsite that they personalize by adding furniture, levelling up, collecting crafting ingredients, and inviting other animals over. It's been made in a way to be a highly social experience, and a big part of the gameplay is befriending animals by giving them gifts.
Here's where the monetization comes in. Nintendo has famously been against free-to-play type of games that feature in-app purchases. That's why Super Mario Run was introduced as a one-time purchase. But with Pocket Camp, it seems Nintendo has slowly warmed up to the freemium model. Make no mistake: the game can be played without spending a dime. But for players who want to speed things up or acquire certain items, they can purchase Leaf Tickets using real-world money.
Is Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp A Cash Cow?
Will this model work in Nintendo's favor? Can it make a significant amount of money with Leaf Tickets? Maybe not.
The truth is, part of the appeal of Animal Crossing is its laid-back atmosphere: this lazy, calm, and languid vibe is an important tone-setting element. As a result, Animal Crossing is probably one of the slowest games ever, but it's also one of the least demanding. With that in mind, Leaf Tickets actually ruin that concept of relaxation.
Will it be a cash cow? Probably. There's an insane amount of impatient players out there who'll probably purchase Leaf Tickets instead of waiting. Either way, Pocket Camp will definitely be a win for Nintendo.