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Animal Crossing mobile title delayed again

Super Mario Run, Pokémon provide bright spots as investor eyes turn to Nintendo Switch

Animal Crossing: New Leaf art Nintendo
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Nintendo has pushed back the launch of its Animal Crossing mobile game again. It now won't come out until sometime after March.

The news was part of Nintendo's overall earnings report on the third quarter of its fiscal year. Though not formally dated, Animal Crossing had been slated to launch on mobile by the end of Nintendo's fiscal year, which would be March 31. That has now been pushed to the next fiscal year.

In the rest of the filing, Nintendo reported a profit of 64.67 billion yen ($575.7 million) for the quarter, up from the 62.8 billion yen ($559 million) the previous quarter and more than double the 29.1 billion ($259 million) for the same quarter in the previous year. Pokémon Sun and Moon was by far Nintendo's top seller for the quarter, at 14.69 million units globally. That's 1.5 million short of Pokemon X and Y over its lifespan since launching in 2013.

Nintendo boasted of 78 million downloads for Super Mario Run, which launched Dec. 15 for iOS devices. About 5 percent of that base elected to pay $9.99 for the full game. Considering the price Nintendo asked and the fact free-to-try mobile games considered a success typically convert at the same rate, those numbers can be taken as good news. Super Mario Run will launch in March on Android devices.

The financial picture Nintendo presented shows the kind of pressure its new console, the Nintendo Switch, faces right out of the gate of its March 3 launch. The Wii U, now formally retired, sold just 760,000 units from April through December 2016.

Correction: An earlier version of this story suggested sales of the Nintendo 3DS line “have started to slow.” Quarterly figures in fact show sales up 10 percent, worldwide, over the same span last year.

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