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MasonADC said:

you are aware that the switch is selling everything that is shipped in japan, right? The baseline literally can not go higher due to production issues. There are lotteries there and for what it seems, the switch is being prioritized in the West rather than in Japan. Animal crossing will probably be the second best selling game ever in Japan and has brought in a new market( as evident by the rise of splatoon).

I didn't know the Switch was still supply-constrained in Japan, but if it is then that's even less of a reason to think that Animal Crossing will be a long-term system-seller there, at least in a way that would be detectable in the data. Yes, the game itself will keep selling for a long time just like other big Nintendo titles that just keep selling (MK8D, Splatoon 2, and Smash 5 have stayed in the Top 10 despite their age), but A) its long-term sales will always be much lower than in the initial wave, and B) its ability to keep selling copies does not translate to capacity to keep moving hardware. Over time, the impact of a single game's ability to move hardware diminishes, normally only causing an increase in hardware sales for a few weeks; such an increase manifests as a big initial spike followed by diminishing HW sales that settle back down to baseline levels. Normally, HW sales are back down to baseline in 5-6 weeks, usually sooner. Most people that got a Switch just to play AC have done so by now.

And in all but two cases that I can find, a single game just doesn't have the capacity to cause a measurable long-term increase in baseline sales. The only clear example I've seen in the sales data from Japan was Splatoon for the Wii U. FF7 was the lone example in the U.S., and it initiated the start of a massive increase in PS1 sales in the latter third of 1997 (though it's hard to say how many people bought a PS1 just for FF7; apparently it sold about 3M copies lifetime in the U.S., over 500k in just September '97 alone, while the PS1 itself sold 30M copies, so it was probably more of an indirect system-seller in that it helped draw significant attention to the system and its larger library and lower software prices). Aside from those two games, every other increase in baseline sales in both regions, for both handhelds and home systems, was associated with a price cut and/or new hardware model.

Considering that sort of track record for games to have long-term capacity to boost sales, I doubt AC:NH would be able to affect months-long increases to baseline sales even if stock wasn't an issue. It may have had a somewhat longer effect than normal due to the absolute size of the initial spike, but even then now that the game is three months old the baseline likely would have settled back down to the pre-AC level by this point. Supposedly, Switch production is returning to normal, so we'll have to see what sales look like over the next few months, but I'm honestly not expecting some dramatic increase in baseline sales beyond what it's been averaging since the release of the Lite. Maybe 60-75k on average until the holidays. I know some people have been very bullish on the Switch, but I am tempering my expectations. I'm not expecting it to completely drop off a cliff any time soon (though I think a noticeable YoY drop next year is likely), but neither am I expecting it to smash all sales records.


In accordance to the VGC forum rules, §8.5, I hereby exercise my right to demand to be left alone regarding the subject of the effects of the pandemic on video game sales (i.e., "COVID bump").