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May 22, 2020 - Sales of the Nintendo Switch video games console have soared during lockdown, mostly thanks to a game called Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
The Switch games console is now virtually impossible to buy anywhere, without having to pay exorbitant prices to third party retailers cashing in on its scarcity.
In what amounts to a fortunate coincidence for Japanese gaming giant Nintendo, it released Animal Crossing: New Horizons on March 20, just as the world was locking down to try and prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
With millions of people sheltering at home, now with plenty of free time on their hands, gaming has soared in popularity. Animal Crossing is a non-violent social simulation game that sees players escape to a desert island to create their own version of paradise. Gamers can link up with friends online to visit each other's islands and swap goods.
During the first ten days or so, Animal Crossing sold at a rate of a million copies per day, surpassing its lifetime sales goal, and after six weeks on the market had sold 13.4 million units.
Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa puts its success down in part to the high proportion of female players aged in their 20s and 30s. Their enthusiasm for the game has caused it to spread through both word-of-mouth and social media platforms, which in turn has led to consumers purchasing new hardware.
Around 50% of Animal Crossing's sales are digital downloads, reflecting the fact that people cannot get out to stores to buy the cartridge version.
Sales of the console and Animal Crossing would most likely be higher were it not for Switch production being cut back due to social distancing rules – creating higher demand than can be meet.
- Nintendo share price (Yahoo! Finance)
- Worldwide hardware estimates for May 10 to 16 (VGChartz)
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons has sold over 13.41 million copies (VentureBeat)
- Nintendo confirms 50% digital sales for Animal Crossing: New Horizons (GamesIndustry.biz)
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo)