'Animal Crossing: New Horizons' sets new Switch record

The Japanese release of friendly island sim "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" outsold "Pokémon Sword & Shield" over its first few days of availability.

With 1.88 million sales over its first three days, "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" has set a new high bar for Nintendo Switch games in Japan.

The achievement means that it has surpassed the launch record set by extremely well-anticipated November 2019 debut "Pokémon Sword & Shield" (1.36m) and December 2018's game mascot fighter "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" (1.24m).

It's also an all-time high for the "Animal Crossing" franchise as a whole.

The 1.88m figure counts physical copies only, to the exclusion of digital sales, with combined tallies to be announced by Nintendo come its quarterly report in May, if not before.

Launch numbers were reported by Famitsu, a sister of industry sales tracker Enterbrain.

Nintendo can be considered likely to disclose regional sales figures for North America and Europe in order to prompt increased uptake.

Like its predecessors, "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" was positioned as a low-stress, casual activity and a medium for friendly play, either between a single player and cute AI-controlled animals, or groups of human players.

The COVID-19 pandemic further increased the game's appeal as a means to cope with the stress of changed circumstances and necessary but isolating social distancing practices.