Animal Crossing: New Horizons has sold over 22 million copies according to Nintendo's recently released FY3/2021 Q1 earnings report. This means that it has managed to surpass both the total sales of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in four months. The current best selling switch game, Mariokart 8 Deluxe, has sold 26.4 million copies in three years.
Animal Crossing also drove hardware sales bringing the console sales up to 60 million worldwide. It's also important to note that these are pre-Christmas numbers and sales will likely increase again during this winter.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons Has Sold Over 22 Million Copies
There are probably a few factors that made New Horizons such a big hit so fast. First, the hype. New Leaf, the last main series Animal Crossing game was released all the way back in 2013, 2012 in Japan. Players engaged fairly consistently with the game through its lifespan but fans still have been clamoring for a sequel since the release of the Switch.
Seasoned fans might remember the elaborate summoning circles people put together before direct in hopes of attracting some news. Most of these announcements ended up being side games like Happy Home Designer and Amiibo Festival. Pocket Camp came close but a mobile game can't replace a mainline console game. Another big factor of course was everyone being stuck in their houses. This drove sales for a whole bunch of consoles and games, but Animal Crossing had the advantage of being an escapist life sim, filling the void of social interaction people were feeling. It is also just a quality game, it has an enjoyable gameplay loop and fun characters to interact with. it would have been popular, or at least a cult classic, no matter what.