'It's uniting people': why 11 million are playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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Nintendo’s record-breaking new game has been embraced by a world in isolation. Its creators talk about how it was made for sharing

Animal Crossing has been a thing for almost 20 years, but this year it has exploded. You cannot scroll through any social media feed without seeing one of its benign, big-headed characters in a screenshot or video showing off someone’s beautifully tended desert island. Celebrities including Elijah Wood have been delighting fans by turning up to visit their towns. People who’ve rarely played games before have been picking it up as a lockdown distraction – including Lauren Laverne, who enthused about it on her Radio 6 Music show. US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez picked it up a few days ago and has been visiting her Twitter followers.

Since the latest game, New Horizons, came out on 20 March, it has become a cliche to say that this is the game we all need right now. But if the numbers are anything to go by – it’s been setting new records, selling 11m copies by the end of March – then it’s absolutely true.

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