Broadway is closed, movie theaters are shut down, and you won't be attending any concerts for at least a year. As the world has been ravaged by the COVID-19 crisis, entertainment hasn't been spared. That is, except for video games, as Nintendo's Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) is in the midst of crushing sales records.
Released on March 20, ACNH has sold more digital units in a single month than any other console game in history — to the tune of 5 million downloads — besting previous record holder Call of Duty: Black Ops III, according to Superdata. Those 5 million sales represent more than the combined digital sales for the first months of huge franchise releases like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Pokémon Sword and Shield combined.
Stop, Nook, and listen — As with all smash (no pun intended) successes, there are many factors at play here. Obviously people have a lot more time on their hands than they're used to and, lucky for Nintendo, the Switch fits perfectly into those idle hands. Those same consumers aren't exactly able to saunter into their local GameStop, so the eShop has likely seen a boom in business only Timmy and Tommy could understand. There's also the long wait between titles in the Animal Crossing franchise, leading fans to drum up enormous amounts of hype on social media which the game, as evidenced by its critical praise, has more than lived up to.
This could be Nintendo's New Horizon — With all these consoles in consumers' hands and no end in sight for the global pandemic, Nintendo is perfectly poised to keep the hits rolling in. While competitors like Microsoft and Sony scramble to educate consumers on why they need to buy a new console, Nintendo gets to spend all its ad dollars selling gamers additional titles for the one they just bought. When the holiday season eventually rolls in, expect to see more than a few eShop gift cards under your tree or next to your latkes this year.
Blathering on — With a slew of indie titles, Bravely Default 2, the long-rumored Metroid Prime trilogy release, and a possible sequel to the Switch's first major success, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, dropping sooner rather than later, the year ahead looks bright for the Mushroom Kingdom.
And, shameless plug: If you can't get enough Animal Crossing, we have a few suggestions on how to maximize your play sessions.