'Animal Crossing: New Leaf' shifts 800k at launch, outperforming Mario Kart 7, NSMB2

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has taken to Animal Crossing's official Twitter feed to share the news that the 3DS's whimsical life sim Animal Crossing: New Leaf was selling out its initial shipment of 600,000 retail copies, and a further 200,000 digital downloads had already been purchased directly from the 3DS eShop or in the form of retailer download cards.

'Animal Crossing: New Leaf' Japanese cover ©All rights reserved - Nintendo

Should those shipment numbers translate into confirmed sales, they mean that New Leaf's Japanese popularity will have pushed it well beyond the 2012 debuts of New Super Mario Bros 2 (407,000 first week sales), and classic remake Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry's Wonderland 3D (513,000 first week sales).

Certainly, the November 8 release has already more than doubled the launch performance of its DS handheld ancestor, 2005's Animal Crossing: Wild World, which had amassed 325,000 sales in a week.

Last year's Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land, which have gone on to become two of the 3DS's best-selling games, opened at 424,000 and 343,000 sales apiece.

None have come close to this year's biggest launch for Nintendo handhelds: twin titles Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 totted up 1.5 million in two days, releasing as a DS cartridge compatible with both the 3DS and its even more widespread ancestor.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is expected in North America during the first half of 2013, with a European release yet to be announced.

Its Japanese release was supported by a special edition 3DS XL, decorated with an Animal Crossing motif pattern.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf on Twitter [Japanese] - twitter.com/doubutsuno_mori
Watch the North American trailer for Animal Crossing: New Leaf - youtu.be/895koqZvihI

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