Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing’s summer update will let you swim for sea critters

Posted by | Animal Crossing, Gaming, TC | No Comments

There’s huge news today for Animal Crossing: New Horizons players still devoted to the most pleasantly addictive way to stay kind of sane stuck at home during the pandemic. In the biggest update yet to the Nintendo Switch hit, players will soon be able to explore the water around their island. Oh — and Gulliver is a pirate now.

The free update will arrive on July 3, marking the first of two waves of new content due out in the summer season (for players in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway!). The update invites players to plunge into the ocean and swim around to collect anemones, starfish, eels and other sea-faring creatures, which can then be donated to their museum collection. The mysterious second half of the update is due out in early August.

[Announcement]Cool off this summer by diving into the #AnimalCrossing: New Horizons free Summer Update – Wave 1, arriving 7/3! Put on your wet suit to dive & swim in the ocean, and even meet new characters! Stay tuned for info on Wave 2, planned for release in early August. pic.twitter.com/cYd86R7g6D

— Tom Nook (@animalcrossing) June 25, 2020

The game will also add another new character, Pascal, a sea otter who you can hit up for new recipes. Anyone who’s played past Animal Crossing titles will recognize Pascal as a chill guy who doles out equally chill pearls of wisdom while casually treading water.

For a game that revolves around familiar cycles — collecting fruit, pulling weeds, shaking trees to find nice living room furniture — the addition of swimming and diving is actually a pretty big change. And it’s probably a good reason for anyone who went hard on New Horizons in the early days of the pandemic and ran out of things to do to revisit the game. It’ll be interesting to see what else Nintendo has in store for New Horizons, as it’s the first Animal Crossing title in a gaming era that expects plenty of post-release downloadable content already plotted out on the roadmap.

It’s also the perfect time to casually stroll out among your villagers while acting like no time passed at all if, like me, your wife accidentally broke one of your Switch controllers and you haven’t played in three weeks. Lolly, if you’re reading this, I want you to know they were back-ordered and this doesn’t change anything between us. Really.

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In spite of an uncertain economy, US video game sales remain strong

Posted by | Animal Crossing, coronavirus, covid-10, Gaming, Microsoft, Nintendo, npd, playstation, Sony, Switch, xbox | No Comments

May marked another extremely strong month for gaming sales, according to the latest figures from NPD. Between software, hardware, accessories and game cards, Americans spent around $977 million. That’s a 57% jump since the year prior and the highest it’s been for the month since 2008, when the country was feeling the strain of the Great Recession.

All of this is made more remarkable by the fact that the United States has been struggling with COVID-19-related pains for months now. This week, another 1.5 million Americans filed for unemployment, bringing the total number to 44.2 million since the beginning of shutdowns. But as countless other venues for non-essential spending have suffered, gaming has thrived.

It’s clear that games are how Americans are choosing to spend whatever sort of disposable income they might have, as they’re stuck at home, away from other humans. And that spending has continued for a few months now, even after Microsoft and Sony have begun hyping their next-generation consoles — both due at at the end of the year.

That, perhaps, is part of why Nintendo continued to dominate console sales with the Switch, in spite of hardware shortages. Animal Crossing: New Horizons remained the top-selling title for the console (and third over all), owing to the online cult it has amassed through social-first gameplay. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Grand Theft Auto V took the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively, on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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US video game sales have record quarter as consumers stay at home

Posted by | Animal Crossing, Companies, coronavirus, COVID-19, driver, Electronic Arts, entertainment software association, Gaming, Microsoft, new horizons, Nintendo, Nintendo Switch, npd, Sony, United States, video game, Virtual reality | No Comments

New numbers from NPD confirm what we’ve known for a while: The first quarter of 2020 was a very good one for gaming companies. The new report notes that sales hit a record $10.86 billion in the States between January and March of this year, marking a 9% increase over a year prior; $9.58 billion of that figure was from video game content.

The primary driver is, you guessed it, COVID-19. As stay at home orders have been enacted on the federal and state levels, people are coping with the ongoing daily horror that is life in 2020 by playing video games. Lots and lots of video games.

Here’s NPD’s Mat Piscatella further confirming our suspicions: “Video Games have brought comfort and connection to millions during this challenging time. As people have stayed at home more, they’ve utilized gaming not only as a diversion and an escape, but also as a means of staying connected with family and friends. Whether it was on console or mobile, PC or virtual reality, gaming experienced play and sales growth during the first quarter.”

According to NPD’s Q1 2020 Games Market Dynamics: U.S. report, overall total industry consumer spending on #videogaming in the U.S. reached a record $10.86 billion in the first quarter of 2020 (Jan. – Mar.), an increase of 9 percent compared to the same time period last year.

— NPD Games (@npdgames) May 15, 2020

That last bit is, in part, key to many consumers’ choice of game titles. As already noted by the firm, Animal Crossing: New Horizons had its own record-setting first quarter. That, in turn, helped drive Switch sales, in spite of Nintendo’s well-documented supply issues. The title arrived just in the nick of time for stay at home orders in the U.S., delivering a kind of front-facing social experience that much of the competition lacks. Also, turnips.

Matter of fact, the Switch’s success actually helped supplement losses of other platforms. Microsoft and Sony will no doubt make up gains at the end of the year with their next-gen consoles. For now, however, many consumers are likely holding out until their holiday arrives to invest in Xbox or PlayStation hardware, in spite of the pandemic. The U.S.’s soaring unemployment rate no doubt also had an impact on the industry’s bottom line.

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Nintendo sells a lot more Switches, as people stay at home playing Animal Crossing

Posted by | Animal Crossing, Gaming, Nintendo, Nintendo Switch, Switch | No Comments

A couple of weeks ago, we noted some new NPD numbers pointing to a very good March for the Switch. Nintendo’s financials this week bear out the predicted surge in popularity for the three-year-old console.

The company has sold 21 million Switch units in the past year, handily beating a 19.5 million forecast; 6.2 million of those systems were the newer, cheaper Switch Lite, which hit the market in September. All of this comes as the company has run up against shortages through a combination of increased popularity and a global supply chain knocked off balance from COVID-19.

In spite of the increased difficulty in procuring a device at retail, the pandemic looks to have had a positive impact on Switch sales, as stay at home orders have increased interest. The arrival of Animal Crossing: New Horizons couldn’t have been better timed, either. The title fulfills both the increased demand for stationary entertainment as well as virtual socialization.

No surprise, then, that the game has become the console’s fastest selling. As of the end of March, 11.77 million copies have been sold. The figures make New Horizons the seventh best-selling Switch title of all time — between Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!/Eevee! And Splatoon 2 — in spite of having only been on sale for just over a month.

The year ahead may look at bit rockier for the company, however, with the arrival of next-gen consoles from Microsoft and Sony arriving this holiday season. 

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The Nintendo Switch had a very good March

Posted by | Animal Crossing, Gaming, hardware, Nintendo, Nintendo Switch, npd, Switch | No Comments

Nintendo is selling a lot of Switches. The convertible console has been a lifesaver for people sheltering in place around the world. COVID-19-induced travel restrictions and the long-awaited arrival of Animal Crossing: New Horizons have proven to be a perfect storm for the three-year-old platform.

New numbers out from NPD this morning shed some light on just how good last month was for Nintendo. Switch sales more than doubled their numbers from March 2019, per the analyst firm. It was a March record for the console, which launched in March 2017. It was also the best first-quarter unit sales for any gaming console since the company’s DS system, way back in 2010.

US NPD HW – Nintendo Switch set a new all-time record for hardware unit sales in a March month, besting the previous high set by Nintendo Switch in its March 2017 launch month.

— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) April 21, 2020

The arrival of Animal Crossing: New Horizons was no doubt a bit part of the sales bump. The latest addition to the popular sim series was both the best-selling game on any platform for March and had the third-best-selling launch month of any title in Nintendo’s history since NPD started tracking. Only Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2018 and 2008, respectively) sold more physical units in their first month.

New Horizons is already the best selling title in Animal Crossing’s history, according to the firm. Both the timing of the title and its focus on social gaming play have been a huge boost to the game. It’s also been a hit with critics, currently sporting a 91% on Metacritic.

Stores have struggled to keep Switch units in stock amid a sharp bump in sales. Nintendo is reportedly boosting production of the system up by 10% in order to keep up with demand.

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Animal Crossing for Switch gets delayed

Posted by | Animal Crossing, e3 2019, Gaming, Nintendo, Nintendo Switch, TC | No Comments

Fans had few expectations rolling into Nintendo’s E3 Direct that were more pronounced than hopes for more details on Animal Crossing for Switch.

We got some insight into the title’s storyline, but the big news is that the originally announced 2019 release time frame is getting pushed back. Now, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, as it’s being called, will be released March 20, 2020.

“To ensure that this game is the best it can be, we must ask you to wait a little bit longer than we thought,” Nintendo executive Yoshiaki Koizumi said during the company’s presentation.

In terms of game details, it looks like you begin the game being flown to a deserted island courtesy of character Tom Nook’s “Nook Inc. Deserted Island Getaway Package.” From there, it seems that a lot of the gameplay should be pretty familiar, chatting with animals, getting them out of jams, customizing things, feeding Tom Nook’s perverted brand of capitalism etc., etc.

The gameplay seems to incorporate many of the evolutions the series has seen in the past few games, including Nintendo’s mobile title. You can craft furniture and really change the outdoor environments. It looks like there’s some significant updates to multiplayer, as some of the footage shows multiple human characters onscreen, but there still seems to be a good deal we don’t know.

The delay is disappointing news, especially after Nintendo’s announcement that Metroid Prime 4 had to restart development. It’s, of course, positive to keep the quality of titles high, but it seems Nintendo is having some issues keeping their core IP on track for the original estimated release dates.

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Nintendo’s Animal Crossing mobile title hits 15 million downloads less than a week after wide release

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 Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp marked Nintendo’s most significant mobile title launch since Mario Run and it seems like the game has already delivered some significant downloads, with data from SensorTower suggesting that the title, which lets users chat with animals, catch fish and shake trees for fruit, has already been downloaded 15 million times in its first six days of availability. Read More

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Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp just hit iOS and Android a day early

Posted by | Animal Crossing, Gaming, Mobile, Nintendo | No Comments

 No doubt hoping to get a jump on that holiday traffic, Nintendo’s latest mobile opus, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp has hit iOS and Android a day ahead of schedule. The latest installment of one of the game company’s most adorable franchises was first announced this time last month. In spite of some skepticism, early looks at the title were complimentary, noting that the title… Read More

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Nintendo’s Animal Crossing mobile game actually looks like a blast

Posted by | Animal Crossing, Mobile, Nintendo, TC | No Comments

 As Nintendo continues to mount an impressive comeback, today the company has announced its next title coming to smartphones, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. The cult classic title where players live amongst the animals and live a generally chill existence (while feeding Tom Nook’s capitalist machine) is coming in November to iOS and Android. More than a few fans of the franchise were… Read More

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