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Animal Crossing: New Horizons was the best-selling game in the U.S. for March, according to The NPD Group. But that is just the start of its achievements.

New Horizons launched March 20 for Switch, in the midst of the coranavirus pandemic. In that month in the U.S., it has already become the best-selling entry in the franchise’s history. It’s also the country’s third-best launch for any Nintendo game ever, following Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (also for Switch) and Super Smash Bros. Brawl (which came out for the Wii). New Horizons is also already the No. 2 best-selling in the U.S. for the year. It is only behind Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

This is an incredible achievement for the series, which propels it to Nintendo’s A-tier of franchises along with the likes of Smash Bros., Mario, and Zelda. The first Animal Crossing came out in Japan in 2001, with the U.S. having to wait for the GameCube port in 2002. Since then, the franchise has grown in popularity as Nintendo has brought entries to following consoles.

Crossing into the mainstream

A lot of factors are playing a part in New Horizon’s meteoric success. First off, it’s on the Switch, which has become a hot system for Nintendo since its launch in 2017. Also, many folks around the world are quarantined or social distancing, and a game about being a part of a community (and one where you can play with your real friends through the internet) sounds like a good escape during today’s troubles. It has even caught the attention of celebrities like Chrissy Teigen.

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New Horizons is also building off of the success of the last main Animal Crossing, New Leaf, which came out for the 3DS in the U.S. in 2013. It sold over 12.45 million copies worldwide. After seven years, fans were hungry for a new entry. And New Horizons is better able to take advantage of social media platforms like Twitter, which fans are using you evangelize the game and show off their virtual islands and custom designs.

A game like Animal Crossing should have long sales legs, so New Horizons could end up being a history strong seller after a few years.

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