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Nintendo Wii U and 3DS digital sales on the rise, Animal Crossing: New Leaf major contributor

Sales of digital content on Nintendo's platforms are on the rise, with recent release Animal Crossing: New Leaf a major contributor to Nintendo's download service, according to the company's recent financial report.

Download sales in the last fiscal year have more than doubled from the previous year and surpassed their record high of almost 12 billion yen from March 2010, reaching just over 16 billion yen, the report says. Nintendo also cites the launch of add-on content and the availability of titles digitally as major contributors to downloadable sales growth.

Purchases of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, launched last November in Japan and South Korea, have also been mostly digital due to short supply of the physical version at retail, and because the game is "one that you can enjoy every day over a long period of time." The title has shipped 3.86 million units to date, with one quarter of the total sales being digital. This number includes sales of the special Animal Crossing 3DS XL bundle which includes a digital copy of the game. The bundle will launch alongside the game in North America this June.

Nintendo has also been selling download codes for New Leaf at retailers, which make up for more than two-thirds of the game's digital sales. Nintendo also reports that based on Club Nintendo registration data, players who purchased Animal Crossing: New Leaf digitally have also opted for the downloadable version of Tomodachi Collection.

"It is also easy to understand that those who have paid download experience are more likely to select the download version," reads the report. "In other words, it is clear that, once people have chosen a download version, they tend to choose another download version next time due to convenience. We believe that letting as many people try a download version as possible is required for significant expansion of our digital business."

The report also says the internet connectivity ratio for Nintendo's consoles has risen to 83 percent in the U.S. and 87 percent in Japan. Europe is at 57 percent, which is "higher than before" but leaves room for improvement, according to Nintendo. The report also notes that 80 percent of Wii U consoles worldwide are connected to the Internet, higher than the company's previously released consoles.

"As Wii U is a game console you can enjoy most with an Internet connection, we will continue to inform our consumers about the advantages of using it online and further increase the net-connection ratio," reads the report.

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