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September 21, 2020
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Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp downloads flourish on the back of COVID-19 and the Switch offering

by Louise Shorthouse on 05/19/20 11:44:00 am   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
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In March, Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp (ACPC) saw its best month for global downloads since its launch in 2017, at 2.7 million across Apple App Store and Google Play Store according to Priori Data. This represented growth of 458%. In April, however, this record was broken again, with downloads seeing a further 93% increase month-over-month, reaching a new peak of 5.2 million.

This was primarily driven by two factors: lockdown measures triggered by the spread of COVID-19, and the release of the Switch title Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) on March 20th.

  • There was substantial hype circulating on social media in the lead up to the ACNH Switch launch, which led many keen fans to re-acquaint themselves with the IP through downloading the mobile game app.
  • Further, those who did not own a Switch or have the means or desire to buy one could engage with the global frenzy through playing the mobile title.
  • COVID-19-related global Switch shortages may also have led players to try out ACPC instead.
  • The game provides a slow-paced, relaxing experience that is capable of counter-acting the stress of lockdown.

An increase of ACNH TV advertisements in March, combined with widespread school closures in key territories such as North America and Western Europe, will also have contributed to increased interest around the Animal Crossing IP.

Although downloads have increased substantially, the impact on revenue has not been quite as explosive. Net revenue grew by a modest 11% in March, and a further 3% in April. ACPC is quite aggressively monetised through in-app purchases (IAPs), but a two-tier, optional, in-game subscription model was also introduced last year. For $2.99 or $7.99 per month, players can enjoy perks such as expanded inventory space and a regular supply of Cookies – the Animal Crossing take on loot boxes. Despite this, the most popular IAP is still the cheapest one, at just $0.99.

Whilst the USA and Japan lead the charge in terms of download volume, Mexico, Thailand and Brazil are amongst the top 10 territories for ACPC installs year-to-date. France also ranks highly, just behind Japan, which reflects the well-established French appetite for Japanese and wider Asian IP. Bandai Namco’s Dragon Ball Z titles and South Korean publisher Com2Us Corp.’s mobile RPG Summoner’s War perform especially well in France.

As COVID-19-related restrictions on work and travel are relaxed, device shortages cease, and the initial furore around Animal Crossing wanes, it is likely that ACPC download growth will flatten. While many users will move on to the Switch version or away from the IP altogether post-lockdown, ACPC will retain some of these new players, and overall engagement will be higher than before moving forward.

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