The Secret Behind Animal Crossing’s Meteoric Success

Pictured: The series’ iconic raccoon entrepreneur/mastermind Tom Nook and his salesperson nephews, Tommy and Timmy. Photo Courtesy: Nintendo/Nintendo Switch

If you’ve been paying attention to social media even just a little bit during the past month, you’ve probably heard about Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which was released for the Nintendo Switch on March 20. Although New Horizons marks the fifth entry in the long-running Animal Crossing series, it might be the first time you’re hearing about it, unless you are (or know) a gamer. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced folks worldwide to shelter in place and physically distance themselves from family and friends, seems to have strangely set the perfect stage for New Horizons to take the world by storm.

The game offers a calming escape — and the opportunity to virtually hang out with your buddies. At an unprecedented time like this, those offerings shouldn’t be underestimated: New Horizons sold 5 million digital copies in its first month, breaking console game records for most single-month sales. Production shutdowns and global supply-chain issues have impacted most industries and many products, and the Nintendo Switch is no exception.