Animal Crossing: New Horizons becomes first console exclusive to surpass 30m global sales in a single year

An unbelievable achievement.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons becomes first console exclusive to surpass 30m global sales in a single year

Image via Nintendo

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has become the first console-exclusive title to ship over 30 million copies in a calendar year.

Posting its 2020 sales data on its Japanese finances website, Nintendo revealed that New Horizons has sold 31.18 million units, up to last December, since its March 2020 launch. That impressive figure makes Animal Crossing: New Horizons the only first-party console game to surpass 30m sales in a single year, according to industry analyst Benji-Sales, and is another big win for Nintendo amid the launch of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X last November.

For context, New Horizons is only 2 million sales away from exceeding Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s 33.41 million units sold on Nintendo Switch. Given that the kart racer was released three years before Animal Crossing’s latest entry in the series, it makes New Horizons’ sales data all the more remarkable.

According to a Nintendo sales data thread on Resetera, Animal Crossing: New Horizons had sold 26.04 million copies up to September 2020. If those figures are to be believed, New Horizons shipped 5.14m units between October and December 2020 alone. 

New Horizons is far and away the best-selling Animal Crossing title of all-time, with its closest competitor — New Leaf — managing 12.82 million global sales, according to the same Resetera thread. Should New Horizons sell another 210,000 copies before its first anniversary, it will also have outsold all other Animal Crossing franchise entries combined in less than 12 months.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons owes much of its success to a surge in gaming sales last year. As the Covid-19 pandemic forced countries into extended lockdowns, many people turned to gaming to stay in contact with family and friends. The Nintendo Switch was the best-selling console of 2020, with hardware sales up 52% in 2019, and New Horizons took sixth place in the best-selling games of the year list.