Why Nintendo Isn’t Bringing Animal Crossing to the Switch

We’ve been holding out hope for an Animal Crossing game for years now. If Nintendo isn’t careful, it’s going to become a Kingdom Hearts 3 situation. New Leaf skipped onto 3DS consoles worldwide almost 6 years ago. Yes, that’s a bloody long time. Fans’ flames of hope get weaker every time we see a Direct with no mention of our favorite animal pals. It’s getting to the point where cryptic tweets with images of Animal Crossing memorabilia arranged in a pentagram are making the rounds. However, even as a frustrated fan, it’s hard not to be sympathetic to why the Nintendo overlords aren’t giving us our next fix. Here’s why we think our wishes have been painfully ignored.

Why Animal Crossing Switch Isn’t Happening: Pocket Camp Exists

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Yes, that’s right. The sub-par, lukewarm Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is going strong. “But it’s not what the fans really want,” you cry. Nintendo responds, “too bad.” We all remember the hubbub over Pocket Camp coming out. In the drought of content since New Leaf, it seemed like Nintendo was doing us a favor by slapping on some temporary balm. Unfortunately, our eagerness to feed from the trough may have also undone us.

Pocket Camp isn’t at all close to the full Animal Crossing experience. It intensely waters down the things that a lot of us love about the main game. On top of that, it’s also got micro-transactions. Don’t get us started on those. However, it also gives a lot more cosmetic freedom. Think of Happy Home Designer and the joy of changing your town’s aesthetic. While the mobile version doesn’t have everything that we’re looking for as fans, it offers a lot that the 3DS game didn’t. That’s likely why it’s so popular, and why Nintendo doesn’t feel like it needs to put out a full-fledged Animal Crossing game any time soon; we’re all still sinking so many hours into the mobile game. It doesn’t matter that it’s really a lesser game in any sense. Fans are clinging desperately to this because it’s the closest we’re gonna get for now, but that also means that Nintendo’s making money off us without having to shell out for a Switch release. We’re our own worst enemies.

Why Animal Crossing Switch Isn’t Happening: Playing it Safe

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Even though the Switch has had a stellar year one, not all developers are convinced of its staying power. It’s not a stretch to think that Nintendo might be having similar doubts. We know that their latest console has outperformed the Wii, but there are still naysayers. In order for the Switch to keep its place as top dog of the portable consoles, Nintendo has been making some commercially smart moves. We’ve seen Fortnite, Hollow Knight, Banner Saga, and all manner of games grace the eShop. In fact, a lot of safe ports have been made of commercially successful titles and we know why; the Switch has to draw in a crowd to be a success. Nintendo is trying every trick in the book, ranging from preying on our nostalgia (Donkey Kong, anyone?) to getting heavy-hitters like Tencent and Epic Games onboard. While Animal Crossing may be popular, Battle Royale games may well put in better numbers performance-wise with consumers. We can’t really blame Nintendo for playing it safe to ensure an even more successful year two.

Why Animal Crossing Switch Isn’t Happening: Pokemon

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Pokemon has long been Nintendo’s crown jewel. This isn’t up for debate; it’s a truth that we’re all aware of. Unfortunately for us, 2018 is shaping up to be a bumper year for everyone’s favourite monster-taming franchise. We now know that Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu are going to be huge. Nintendo is taking a lot of risks with the two titles, and even trying to upsell its flagging Pokemon Go sideshow. This latest Pokemon game has to succeed. If it bombs, it’s going to do untold things to the popularity of the franchise, especially considering its performance on the latest DS games. Nintendo can’t afford to have another franchise that’s also popular to be nipping on the sales heels of Let’s GoAnimal Crossing‘s release could well steal the thunder of the Pocket Monsters crowd, which is the kind of headache the company doesn’t need. While we love Pokemon here and don’t want our favorite franchises to fight, we have to be pragmatic.

As much as we want the next iteration of the Animal Crossing series, it looks like it just won’t be on the cards. Whether it’s other flagship franchises stealing the spotlight, or the fact that the series is doing well enough milking mobile users, the timing doesn’t seem right. However, the Switch’s Year Two is almost over, so we shouldn’t lose all hope. Once consumers have moved on from Nintendo’s other hits, the 2019 calendar looks ready for a dose of Tom Nook.  Got your own theory on why your mayoral urges aren’t being satiated? Let us know in the comments section below.