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Let’s Build A Zoo Dev Explains How Argentina Helped It Top Nier On The Charts

Let’s Build A Zoo just released on consoles last month, and it turned out to be indie publisher No More Robots' "biggest Switch release to date." And it's all thanks to a South American country called Argentina.

Are Argentinians big fans of pixel zoo simulation games? No, not really. But Argentina is the cheapest place in the world where you can buy Let's Build A Zoo thanks to regional pricing. Argentina is a relatively poor country, so to give residents a break, games are often priced cheaper there than elsewhere.

But we live in an interconnected world where it's easy to spoof your location to get a better deal. That's what people did when Let's Build A Zoo went on sale, changing their location to Argentina to purchase the game for about $1.50.

"It turns out, 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," explained No More Robots director Mike Rose on Twitter. "We were heavily featured on a bunch of these sites! Oh cool!!!"

Actually, not cool. Normally, this is bad because the publisher is making less than a dollar on each sale when they could be making $5 or more.

"And then, towards the end of day two of pre-orders, I noticed something weird," added Rose. "We were rapidly climbing the eShop charts in the US. Overnight, we'd jumped up 100s of places, and we were now circling the top 100 best-sellers on the US eShop."

It turns out that the Nintendo US eShop isn't just for the US–it's actually for all of North and South America. All these purchases in Argentina pushed Let's Build A Zoo to the top of the US charts which meant a lot more legit US customers were looking at the game. This led to even more US sales than expected, allowing Let's Build A Zoo to beat out Nier Automata: The End of YoRHa Edition on Switch US charts. On top of that, Let's Build A Zoo's success in the Americas meant it was featured heavily in both the European and Australian stores too.

The moral of the story? It's not always a bad thing for a game to suffer lost profits in some sales due to region-hopping if it can make up for it later. Still, Rose hopes that platforms like Steam and Xbox "work out asap what to do about how easy it is to region-swap and buy games for dirt cheap."

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