Animal Crossing: New Horizons was launched on March 20, 2020 on Nintendo Switch. And, in just three days after it went on sale, it became one of the best selling titles in the UK during that week (Eurogamer) and the fastest selling game to reach 2 million physical copies in record time in Japan (Forbes). New Horizons is a social simulation game that has captured millions of users with its seemingly innocuous gameplay where players can choose an avatar to play as the main protagonist who embarks on an island to simulate a social life under the guidance of Tom Nook (store operator).
New Horizon’s immense success at launch and steadily rising popularity is most likely to have had influenced Pocket Camp App and its current rate of growth. According to data gathered from App Ape, the monthly active users (MAU) for Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp app on android in United States has been seen to be slowly creeping back up in November of 2019 after Nintendo officially revealed that a new Animal Crossing game in the series was to be launched on Nintendo Switch with an unspecified release date back in 2019 (Polygon). The app seemed to have resurfaced back to popularity immediately after the game’s release date was confirmed to be in 2020. As a result, this article will be comparing Animal Crossing: New Horizon’s success to rising popularity of Animal Crossing Pocket Camp App.
Data from the above graph shows that there were 370,000+ monthly active users as of February 2020, an enormous and steep rise compared to September 2019. Such a rapid rise in the user base can be associated with three reasons. The main reason is believed to be the lack of mainstream competition on Switch during its launch apart from Doom Eternal on PC. Secondly, Animal Crossing: New horizons’ launch on Nintendo Switch came during an ill fated Pandemic sweeping across the globe, And finally, the game has received universal acclaim from many reviewers, pulling in more people into the game’s ecosystem.
Record breaking sales figures
Although Doom Eternal was launched on the same day as Animal Crossing: New Horizons has, it did not pose much of a threat to New Horizon’s sales despite the fact that Doom Eternal belongs to a legendary series that defined first person shooter (FPS) in the early 90’s. The protagonist’s main mission is to save humanity from extinction by killing all demons that have raised literal hell on Planet Earth. Doom is one of the most iconic games in the history of gaming (PCGamer), and yet even a game of that caliber and potential to destroy any competition could not beat Animal crossing’s sales figures. That shows how extremely popular Animal Crossing really is. Moreover, unlike Doom Eternal, there are no missions, or objectives to complete for progression in Animal Crossing. The fun factor heavily relies on what the player chooses to do within the game’s environment, and the freedom to do literally anything gives this game its long lasting charm.
According to Eurogamer, Animal Crossing : New Horizons was the second biggest Switch launch ever, and the biggest launch in the series. It also broke Switch sales record in Japan with nearly 1.88 million copies.(Gamesindustry) However, it doesn’t come as a surprise given that the game has always had a huge following in Japan in the first place but impressive nonetheless. On the other hand, according to Venturebeat, Doom Eternal was mostly leading Global Top Sellers chart in digital sales on Steam.
These sales figures can be attributed to the game’s untimely launch and people wanting to be occupied by something else that takes them away from the current reality. That being said, both games revolve around the concept of human nature and survival strategy, so that may explain the record sales figures of Animal crossing new horizons followed by Doom Eternal.
The pocket camp App in-app purchases were also noted to have increased after Nintendo revealed paid subscription options for the app that allowed in-game purchased items to be synced with the Switch version of the game and vice-versa. (TouchArcade).
The game to be played during Quarantine
Touted as the anti-anxiety game to be played during the ongoing pandemic (Vulture), Animal Crossing has brought in many anticipating gamers to spend their time leisurely indulging in activities such as fishing, browsing aquarium, building a bridge, paying off zero interest mortgage, roaming around the island, removing undesired weeds around the player’s tent or even building and customizing camp fire sites among many other things definitely seemed to have struck a chord with majority of the quarantined population.
The pocket camp app also operates basically on the same theme of customization thereby possibly contributing to the app’s resurgence. The paid subscription option may have stimulated interest in hardcore animal crossing fans and may have boosted the usage growth in Animal crossing Pocket Camp App.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons was exceptionally well received by most publications and consumers alike and is known to be a well designed game ranging from sound to game design and everything in between. It gave players a chance to create an ideal society limited by their own imagination. Every action and decision they take are well recognized and throughly rewarded with mindful gestures by the NPCs (Non Playable Characters) in the community on the island. Leaving players with memorable experiences and sensation of achievement in the little things they pursue in the game. Also leading to further fueling their will to play more. This level of appreciation that game offers to the players might be difficult to even achieve in real life. Moreover, coupled that with adorable animal characters (NPCs) and tasteful world design, it can be easily seen why it is enjoyed by wide range of age groups.
The wide range of appeal can be observed in Pocket Camp App as well. The above bar chart of app’s gender distribution is mostly comprised of female users in their 10’s and 20’s. But it also shows remaining age groups ranging from 30’s 40’s investing their time in the game in February.
The ability to make online friends in the game enables the user to create a well defined, highly personalized circle of social life without ever having to leave their house. Building a strong connection to the game over time can make all the difference in the world. This could potentially heal a person’s anxiety which is often the result of isolating oneself for longer periods of time without sustained social interactions (TheGuardian). And, that level of connection formed with the game, is what makes Animal Crossing the perfect gateway, away from reality and a pause gap during prevalence of uncertainty for the foreseeable future.
This precise sentiment has also trickled down to the android version of the game. The basic gist of the app on android is to utilize available resources in the game world to create necessary infrastructure for any kind of outdoor activities. Such as crafting furniture to create an ideal camp site, and turning it into a cafe and even celebrating achievements with the NPCs or online friends. The android version of the game is an alternative to anyone who may not own a Nintendo Switch. This trend could also lead to Animal Crossing Pocket Camp App’s overall growth.
The above data shows app’s activity and inactivity percentage. Although the percentage of active users is only 45% with remaining 55% being inactive in the month of February, 58% of those active users came under newly active category and 17% users have reactivated the app. Judging by the upward trend of MAU seen in the earlier graph, it is safe to assume that the active usage ratio is set to rise further.
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