Sponsored By

Let's Build a Zoo publisher explains how player region swapping boosted sales

MIke Rose of publisher No More Robots explained how Let's Build a Zoo's recent sales success is owed to players changing the region of their consoles.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

October 13, 2022

2 Min Read
Screenshot of Springloaded's Let's Build a Zoo, taken from the game's Steam page.

Let's Build a Zoo released in late September, and has quickly become a bestseller on the Nintendo Switch eShop. However, it's not quite as simple as the game just finding an audience on the Switch, and Mike Rose, head of the game's publisher No More Robots, took to Twitter to explain how the title has become such a breakout hit in a few weeks. 

A week before the game's release, Rose saw that 85 percent of the game's pre-orders were from Argentina, where the game's price is $1.50 due to conversion rates. He quickly realized that region swapping was at play, wherein players change their console's location to a region they don't live in to get the cheapest price for a particular game. 

It was Zoo's bundle of the base game and DLC that was being bought in "droves," said Rose, which was priced at $20 due to region conversion. With joking despair, he added that the title was featured on several websites that actively teach players the art of region hacking. 

Rising pre-orders in Argentina had the surprising side effect of making Let's Build a Zoo rise in the eShop charts in North and South America. "Any sales anywhere in the Americas, were treated as sales across the whole of the region," he explained. And since eShop sales are based on units sold, the more pre-orders meant more players in the United States were being turned on to the title. 

When Let's Build a Zoo released on the Switch on September 29, the farming sim made it to the "Great Deals" tab on the US eShop. And seeing how successful it was looking in the States, the eShops for the UK and Australia included the game, which Rose said led to "higher than normal" sales in both those regions. 

Further into the Twitter thread, Rose revealed the region swapping tactic wasn't exclusive to Switch. "Argentina" was a popular region for the game on other platforms (he namechecked Steam and Xbox). While he's glad that the game is selling, he admitted that platforms "really need to work out asap what to do about how easy it is to region-swap and buy games for dirt cheap." 

Rose concluded his thread by stating that Let's Build a Zoo will eventually get its region pricing fixed. But until then, he pointed out there's nothing wrong with taking advantage of Zoo's unique situation. 

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like