Animal Crossing: New Horizons is Japan’s biggest Nintendo Switch launch ever

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has become Japan’s biggest Nintendo Switch launch ever.

According to Famitsu (thanks, Eurogamer), Animal Crossing: New Horizons has sold 1.88m physical copies in Japan, knocking Pokémon Sword and Shield off the top spot with its combined 1.36m sales. This means New Horizons has outsold all prior instalments of the franchise, and exceeded the combined sales of New Leaf, Wild World, and City Folk.

As you might expect, this has also pushed up sales of Switch hardware, too. Incredibly, this week’s hardware sales exceed that of its launch week, selling 392,576 units.

As the gentle island simulation game goes straight to the top of the UK charts this week – selling three times as many physical copies as last week’s other highly-anticipated release, Doom Eternal, in the process – the game is now one of the Switch’s most successful launches in the West, second only to Pokémon Sword and Shield. Take those games separately, however, and New Horizon takes pole position.

Nintendo confirmed in late February that the coronavirus had impacted the release of its upcoming Animal Crossing: New Horizons Switch bundle and associated carrying case in Japan. In an update on the official website, Nintendo confirmed that as the limited edition hardware is produced in China, delays in the wake of COVID-19 were “inevitable”, forcing the company to revise its reservation date and pushing the Japanese preorder date back from February 8th to March 8th, 2020. There was no impact on bundle deliveries elsewhere in the world, however. 

Animal Crossing New Horizon for Nintendo Switch was pushed back from 2019 to March 2020 in order to ensure its development team members “have good work-life balance”. Nintendo of America boss Doug Bowser said Nintendo’s “vision” and “mission” was to “bring smiles to people’s faces [and that] applies to our own employees” as much as it does its customers.

“The crunch point is an interesting one,” Bowser said at the time. “For us, one of our key tenets is that we bring smiles to people’s faces, and we talk about that all the time. It’s our vision. Or our mission, I should say. For us, that applies to our own employees. We need to make sure that our employees have good work-life balance.”

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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