The publisher of Nintendo Switch management simulator Let’s Build a Zoo has shared how a strange eShop policy and “Argentina” made its game an accidental hit.

Mike Rose, company director at publisher No More Robots, shared on Twitter (below) that people using an eShop workaround to buy games cheaper by changing their region first looked to be a disaster for Let’s Build a Zoo, but quickly became the key to its success.

Rose felt good when the game received lots of preorders, but after he saw they were coming from “Argentina”, he grew worried. There were major problems with this, he said.

“They obviously weren’t really from Argentina. Clearly people were doing the easy region-swapping thing, setting their eShop region to Argentina to get the cheapest price possible. That ‘cheapest price’ was roughly $1.50, due to exchange rates.”

Let’s Build a Zoo and its Dinosaur Island DLC is available for $26.99 on the U.S. eShop, but Rose said his company would now be earning less than $1 for each sale. “Players can just go on sites like ‘eShop Prices’, see where new games are dirt cheap and in which regions, and be given exact instructions on how to change region and buy the game for next-to-nothing.”

That soon changed however, as a couple days after preorders went live Let’s Build a Zoo started climbing the U.S. eShop charts. Rose realised that Nintendo actually uses one centralised eShop for the Americas, and the high sales in Argentina were therefore putting the game front and centre in the U.S.

“It meant that by the proper launch on September 29, we had already climbed pretty high up the Great Deals tab on the U.S. eShop,” Rose said. “And now we were attracting the attention of way more U.S. players – loads more attention than we would have got if we hadn’t been so high up the charts.”

The game was also featured on the European and Australian eShops, and sales were so high that the average price of each sale had climbed from the $1 amount to more than $20 a sale.

Rose ended his story by asking publishers like Nintendo, Valve, and Microsoft (as the issue is prevalent on all platforms) to rework their online stores so people can’t just switch regions to get games for a fraction of the price.

Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.



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