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.

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.”

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