Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Switch Console Sales Close Out Strong Fiscal Year For Nintendo

Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Switch Console Sales Close Out Strong Fiscal Year For Nintendo

In just 11 days, New Horizons became the Animal Crossing series' best-selling title.

It didn’t take long for Animal Crossing: New Horizons to become the best-selling game in the series

The franchise’s Nintendo Switch debut sold 11.77 million units between its March 20 launch and the March 31 close to the fiscal year, giving it the best start of any Switch release so far and placing it seventh among the console’s highest-selling titles, Nintendo revealed in its year-end earnings report on Thursday. In addition, the game has sold through more than 13-million copies in its first six weeks on the market, surpassing the lifetime sales of its 3DS predecessor, New Leaf, which released nearly eight years ago.

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The coronavirus pandemic has no doubt boosted demand for New Horizons and the Switch console itself, but still, the game’s success continues an encouraging trend that has seen many of Nintendo’s IPs carry over to the console-handheld hybrid with their best performances yet.

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Speaking of, the Switch family of consoles sold 21.03 million units (14.83 million of the standard Switch, 6.19 million of the Switch Lite) for the 2020 fiscal year, a 24-percent boost from last year. Breaking it down by region, annual hardware sell-through increased 33 percent in Japan, 20 percent in North America, and 19 percent in Europe. Nintendo noted an uptick in hardware sales in the fourth quarter, especially, thanks to New Horizons.

To date, the Switch has sold 55.77 million units since its March 2017 launch. It still has the DS, Game Boy, Wii, Game Boy Advance, 3DS, and Famicom/NES sitting ahead of it on Nintendo’s all-time sales list, but it has now sold more than the N64 and the GameCube combined.

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As for software, many of Nintendo’s first-party titles continue to perform. Pokemon Sword and Shield, launched in November, has moved 17.37 million units. And Nintendo said that other titles released earlier in the fiscal year, like Super Mario Maker 2 and Luigi’s Mansion 3, and even further back have continued to steadily sell. The company revealed that 27 Switch games have now sold at least a million units, with nine of them coming from third parties.

As a whole, software sales went up 42.3 percent over the past fiscal year, with 168.72 million units moved.

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Nintendo also saw a sizable increase in digital sales, pulling in 2014.1 million yen — a 71.8 percent jump year-on-year — that accounted for 34 percent of those aforementioned 168.72 million units sold.

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The mobile space brought in 51.2 billion yen (an 11.5 percent increase year-on-year) thanks to the roll out Dr. Mario World and Mario Kart Tour, along with continued updates to Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, which Nintendo said has helped bring attention to New Horizons and vice-versa.

The company also briefly covered its push to expand its IPs out to other businesses, which already include announced licensing deals with the LEGO Group on a Super Mario set and Levi Strauss for Mario-inspired clothes.

What’s concerning, at least for right now, is Nintendo’s outlook for the rest of the calendar year. Outside of Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, Pokemon Sword and Shield’s expansion pass, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s second fighters pass, the company’s immediate (known) roadmap looks sparse.

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Nintendo hasn’t been secretive about the ongoing pandemic’s effects on its development and publishing plans. It opened its last Direct presentation in March with a message that release dates and info were subject to change due to COVID-19’s impact, and it reportedly won’t be holding its annual June presentation for the same reason.

That sentiment was echoed throughout the company’s earning’s report.

“As mentioned in the beginning, if the effects of COVID-19 are prolonged or worsen further, we may not be able to proceed with the release of Nintendo products and the start of services as planned, so our future plans are subject to change,” Nintendo wrote.

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