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Animal Crossing: New Horizons is Nintendo’s third best launch ever

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons Tom Nook bells
Nintendo / Thumbsticks

To put it in Animal Crossing: New Horizons terms, Nintendo has a very good stalk price.

Remember when we thought that Animal Crossing was a B-tier Nintendo franchise? That it had its niche, sure, but wasn’t a heavy-hitter like Mario or Zelda? Well, the Switch makes fools of us all.

As first reported by Venture Beat, Animal Crossing: New Horizons was the top-selling game of March in the US, beating out the likes of Doom Eternal, Nioh 2, Half-Life: Alyx and Ori and the Will of the Wisps. It’s already outsold any previous title in the series. And it’s the second best-selling game of the year, second only to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which has been boosted by the success of its free-to-play Battle Royale mode, Warzone.

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Maybe most surprisingly? Animal Crossing: New Horizons had the third best launch month of any Nintendo release ever. It’s only surpassed by another Switch exclusive, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and the Wii’s Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been buoyed by being one of the last major games to release before lockdown became ubiquitous. Given the series’ unique conceit – that in-game time passes at the same speed as IRL time – it’s had a longer tail than other March releases. I started playing the game at launch and, thanks to the game’s slower pace, didn’t roll credits until yesterday.

And, obviously, most of our routines have been obliterated by the COVID-19 crisis. So, Routine: The Game has a certain appeal.


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Andrew King is a journalist, critic, poet, stand-up comedian and museum caretaker living in Illinois.

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