Skip to main content

Animal Crossing is the game we need right now — and the one people are buying

Impressive sales for Animal Crossing: New Horizons prove it’s a gentle giant, as the game appears to be just what players need during the current global health crisis.

Since its launch on March 20, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has managed to put up the best first-week U.K. numbers in the series’ history, according to GamesIndustry. The sales figures are higher than all previous entries combined, and more than three times higher than the 3DS-exclusive Animal Crossing: New Leaf. If we treat Pokémon Sword and Shield as two separate games, New Horizons had the biggest launch of any Switch game in the U.K. to date.

Switch Animal Crossing

Even with both Pokémon games combining to hold the top spot, an Animal Crossing game in second place is extremely impressive. The Nintendo Switch saw the launch of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Fire Emblem: Three Houses well after the Switch first launched, and they couldn’t do what New Horizons did.

The sales figures released thus far only factor in physical purchases. Digital downloads, which have made up an ever-increasing slice of game sales this generation (and now especially, with many people self-isolating due to the coronavirus), could make the sales figures even more impressive. New Leaf racked up more than 12 million lifetime sales to date, and if the current pace for New Horizons in the U.K. is similar worldwide, it could double that.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons‘ gentle, easygoing, and non-stressful gameplay could be the perfect choice for players during the coronavirus pandemic, especially for those who haven’t been able to leave home.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Deserted Island Getaway Package Primer

Officially designated COVID-19, the disease has forced players everywhere into quarantine, where their choice of activities are limited. Pulling weeds and collecting bugs could be a more relaxing option than killing demons and monsters in other recent games like Doom Eternal and Nioh 2, especially when playing with friends. With real-time progression, it also continues indefinitely, which could be an important factor if the pandemic stretches on for a long period of time.

Digital Trends Gaming Editor Lisa Marie Segarra is a big fan, praising social features and customization options in her Animal Crossing review. The review called it “precisely the type of game that’s perfect for anyone looking to get away without leaving the house.”

Editors' Recommendations

Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
How to cook in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Cooking in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

It's been well over a year, and yet Animal Crossing: New Horizons is still giving us more new things to do on our islands. With the latest 2.0 update, a whole host of new activities and features were added, both for free and as part of the paid DLC. While there were many parts that fans were eager to see return -- or show up for the first time in the series -- there was one aspect in particular everyone seemed to be craving more than others.

Cooking was the perfect ingredient to add to Animal Crossing: New Horizons in this update. Collecting materials, including food, fishing, and crafting, all felt like cooking was the next logical step, and thankfully, it was. Just like in real life, cooking isn't so easy, though. You'll need to do some prep work to get your kitchen in order before you can start whipping up some delicious dishes. If you want to know everything there is about how to cook in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, we've got a step-by-step recipe for you to follow.

Read more
How to get a 5-star island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Player around flowers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, there's no shortage of things to do. The mega-popular, quirky Nintendo sim has skyrocketed to the top of the sales charts, reaching nearly 35 million copies sold, while bringing together a healthy mix of newcomers and longtime fans of the series. And now that the 2.0 update and Happy Home Paradise DLC have launched, even more players will be returning to their tropical islands.

New Horizons tasks you with populating your island and customizing it with homes, shops, decorations, and inhabitants. As your island develops, you'll likely want to start working on its rating, which is determined by meeting a long list of requirements. Your island's rating can be anywhere from one to five stars. Interestingly, there's an intricate points-based system on the backend, with various numbers tied to certain tasks you need to complete.

Read more
Animal Crossing: New Horizons beginner’s guide
A classroom full of students in Animal Crossing: Happy Home Paradise.

Animal Crossing finally went mainstream with 2020's New Horizons, which has already outsold all of the series’ previous entries. That means there are a lot of new players exploring the world for the first time, and with Animal Crossing: New Horizons offering more possibilities than ever, there are a lot of questions to be answered. This is certainly a charming game you can kick back and relax with, but there are a few tips that will let you flex your creative muscles much faster than just flying by the seat of your pants.

Between gathering supplies, earning bells, transforming your island, making friends with your villagers, and even investing in the stock market (adorably named the "stalk" market), the early hours on your island will no doubt feel overwhelming. Whether you’re a first-timer or veteran villager, we’ll let you know exactly what to do to start off your island adventure right.

Read more