It’s the game that’s sold over 32 million copies in 16 months, the game most synonymous with the global pandemic, and the game perhaps most responsible for the massive console sales of the Nintendo Switch. Animal Crossing: New Horizons, put quite simply, is a really big deal. Since its launch in March of 2020, the game has received a steady supply of small updates, festivals, and quality of life improvements; and for those many new Switch owners, the game will certainly provide loads of entertainment. But for those who’ve been DIY-ing since the beginning, the Nook Miles have run dry.
The reality is that for those who’ve already sunk hundreds of hours into their island getaway, the game has become–well–boring. Once players have paid off all possible home expansions, built every ramp and bridge their heart desires, and secured the perfect residents to suit their impeccably designed island, the game simply loses its appeal. Some have even decided to completely demolish their island and start over, perhaps hoping to rediscover the magic of the early days of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
As someone who grew up in the 80s and 90s, I don’t feel any sense that Nintendo owes gamers anything. They crafted a fantastic experience, from which players secured hundreds of hours of joy and entertainment during one of the darkest periods in recent memory. Consumers more than got what they paid for. During the NES and SNES eras, restarting a save file was the norm. Consumers purchased a finite, quantifiable experience; if they liked it, they could always play it again, just as one can reread a treasured book or rewatch a favorite film.
However, the contemporary era is one of sustained support. Perhaps it is true that when a game is sold, a sort of unspoken contract is entered into by the consumer and producer. For the modern gamer, that $60+ purchase price is access to a period of enjoyment rather than a specified number of hours or a fixed plot completion. If one accepts this as the standard for the modern gaming market (certainly a big if) then perhaps Nintendo does owe its many consumers of Animal Crossing: New Horizons at least one major update, even if that comes as paid DLC. Certainly a second island or an expansion to the current one would be a welcome addition to the game, granting players a reason to return.
Tell us what you think! Does Nintendo owe fans of Animal Crossing: New Horizons a major game update? Share your reactions in the comments below or join the conversation over at Boss Rush Discord.