Animal Crossing: New Horizons – More Than Just a Game

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is providing a source of stress relief to many people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In just a matter of 6 weeks after its release, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has outsold all other Animal Crossing games. Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa stated that New Horizons has already surpassed the projected number of lifetime sales. In six years, Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the Nintendo 3DS sold around 12.5 million copies worldwide; New Horizons exceeded this number in a matter of six weeks, currently having sold around 13.5 million copies. According to Nintendo, New Horizons is the fastest-selling Nintendo Switch game of all time.

What is it about this game that has made it so successful? There are several factors to consider that contribute to the sales of New Horizons, a large one being the massive amount of people worldwide staying home due to COVID-19. As there is now an influx of young people stuck at home with little or nothing to do, a video game revolving around living day-to-day life on a once-deserted island is more appealing than ever.

Another factor that comes into play is real-world stress. New Horizons is a game that allows the player to move at their own pace and offers substantial creative liberties. As opposed to other Switch games like Splatoon or Breath of the Wild, New Horizons does not have competitive aspects or even necessarily an end goal. The purpose of the game is to create an island specifically catered to the players’ imagination, which comes as a source of comfort  to many fans of the game. In a time filled with stress and anxiety, having a reliable income of ease and relaxation is important in keeping one’s mental health in balance.

While video games have provided these de-stressing sessions for decades, none have quite had an impacts as positive as Animal Crossing: New Horizons has during this worldwide pandemic.