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Forums - Sales Discussion - Reasons for Animal Crossing's Amazing Numbers as Calculated By You

Animal Crossing is off to an incredible start just one month after it released.  While concrete numbers won't be known until next month, it's safe to say that this is the best selling game in an already respectable franchise.  In light of current conditions I thought we should have a discussion as to the why of this game's phenomenal success, and I thought the best way to do this was to not throw out any possibilities, but rather consider all of them and how they create the whole.

So what percentage (out of a hundred of course) would you give to each factor in Animal Crossing: New Horizon's success to date?

Covid 19/Shelter in Place
Nintendo game drought
Quality of Game
Quality of Franchise
Time since last Release
Install Base of Switch
Handheld/Console Merger
Pocket Camp (Mobile)
Social Media
Other (please specify)

Last edited by super_etecoon - on 24 April 2020

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Meh. Love animal crossing but there's like three other topics about it on the front page, and two specifically about its sales. This seems unnecessary.



super_etecoon said:

Animal Crossing is off to an incredible start just one month after it released.  While concrete numbers won't be known until next month, it's safe to say that this is the best selling game in an already respectable franchise.  In light of current conditions I thought we should have a discussion as to the why of this game's phenomenal success, and I thought the best way to do this was to not throw out any possibilities, but rather consider all of them and how they create the whole.

So what percentage (out of a hundred of course) would you give to each factor in Animal Crossing: New Horizon's success to date?


By quality of game, that includes the sort of game it is and what you can do in it. It’s the perfect game for a system like Switch, it’s the perfect game for Breath of the Wild fans who loved the emergent gameplay and storytelling. It’s the perfect sort of game for a lockdown, and so the demand for game was high. I don’t think install base of the Switch played a giant role given the game is a system seller, but it helped that many purchasers had a Switch before these massive shortages.

Covid 19/Shelter in Place 25
Nintendo game drought 0
Quality of Game 35
Quality of Franchise 3
Time since last Release 0
Install Base of Switch 5
Handheld/Console Merger 33
Other (please specify)


Animal Crossing New Horizons has had a significant cultural impact on everything from life during the pandemic to political statements in China.



I describe myself as a little dose of toxic masculinity.

Covid 19/Shelter in Place 20
Nintendo Game Drought 0
Quality of Game 20
Quality of Franchise 10
Time since last Release 5
Install Base of Switch 5
Handheld Console Merger 10
Other (please specify) 30 - See below.

What I like to call 'The Switch Effect' where almost all of Nintendo's major franchises (3D Mario, Mario Kart, Mario Party, Mario Tennis, Luigi's Mansion, Zelda, Splatoon, Xenoblade, Smash Bros.) have had their latest installment on the Switch that has gone on to become the best selling game in their respective franchise or close to it. (Pokemon, Kirby, Fire Emblem). That's because the Switch is the "cool" thing in town now. It has achieved that air or level of coolness and broad appeal that systems like the NES, PS1, PS2, PS4, the entire Game Boy line, and DS before it have managed to achieve. It has managed to appeal and cater towards all three of the major audiences that a system should appeal to in order to succeed at the highest level:

1. The casual, mainstream gaming market. (Your average Joe/Jane on the street who doesn't go out of their way to play video games often. They don't know much outside of Call of Duty, sports games, Grand Theft Auto, Mario, and Pokemon.)
2. The dedicated, focused gaming market. (Us.)
3. That company's loyal following (The fanboys/fangirls.)

Most systems will appeal to 1 or 2 of these audiences.* Or they DO appeal to all 3 audiences, but they're all split between two or more systems competing head to head.**
Usually in those instances, you have modest successes (3DS*, N64*, PSP*, PS3/360**, SNES/GEN**) or utter failures (Wii U, GCN, Vita, XOne, Saturn, Dreamcast)

When you have a system that can appeal to all 3 audiences AND get the vast majority of their marketshare (NES, Game Boy line, PS1, PS2, PS4, DS.) Then you have a system that is capable of incredible, record-breaking levels of sales for both hardware AND software. And that's what we have for the Switch. That's why all of those franchises I mentioned have done exploded in sales and popularity and that is what's happening with Animal Crossing right now.



Hardware Comparison Threads:

PlayStation 4/Xbox One/Nintendo Switch: 2019 vs. 2020
(https://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/thread/241660/ps4xbons-2019-vs-2020/1/)


Covid 19/Shelter in Place 35
Nintendo game drought 5
Quality of Game 5
Quality of Franchise 5
Time since last Release 0
Install Base of Switch 15
Handheld/Console Merger 5
Other (please specify) 30

People give all the credit to COVID and the shelter in place. But I think Animal Crossing Pocket Camp for smarthpones was a factor just as decisive. When the mobile game arrived millions of people who had never touched an Animal Crossing game in their live suddenly found themselves enjoying a watered down version of it. Then Nintendo starts promoting New Horizons for the Switch, which completely blows away anything Pocket Camp could offer. If I were a Pocket Camp player and I watched the Animal Crossing Direct... No question: I would definetly want to get my hands on it. PC is a joke compared to NH.

Iwata nailed it. Use smartphone games to grow the sales of their console games. It happened with Fire Emblem, it happened with Pokémon and it happened again with Animal Crossing.

Add to this the COVID situation, the massive success that is the Nintendo Switch and that the game recieved excelent reviews... and you have a bomb.



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In my today's life circles there's a lot of people who play occasionally, casual gamers. For the majority of them, they had the DS and the WII, but they stopped to play after that. They have the nostalgic feeling with this game, so they all want the Switch and play at it. A lot of them talk to me about the DS episode that they had younger.

Of course, casual gamers are not the alone to play at Animal Crossing, we like it too ;)
But it can explains that so many millions of game are sold suddently



Covid 19/Shelter in Place 5
Nintendo game drought 0
Quality of Game 40
Quality of Franchise 40
Time since last Release 0
Install Base of Switch <1
Handheld/Console Merger 10
Other (please specify) 5

Other is the Animal Crossing exposure via Nintendo's smartphone title.

The biggest reasons are the reputation of the franchise as well as the game itself, because games don't pull off large numbers week after week in non-holiday months when they aren't perceived as good.

Switch functionality is always beneficial for game series that have been closely or exclusively associated with handheld consoles, because gamers in America and Europe have long favored playing video games on their TVs and a minority of them has been strictly against touching handhelds.

Corona is something that has provided a general boost to all video game hardware as well as leggy games, but let's not get carried away and pretend that Animal Crossing wouldn't have been huge without its launch timing.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

Social Media should be one of the main categories.



Thanks for your guys' responses. I know that Animal Crossing is all over the front page, but with all the articles and pundits declaring this game's success being based predominantly on the Codid 19 situation, I really wanted to hear from the many analysts here. I certainly value the takes of many posters here over those of the general media or other gaming analysts in the industry.

I have added a line for Pocket Camp and for Social Media.