Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a ridiculously popular game. With the combination of people looking for a game to keep them busy in lockdown, and just how many people are always talking about Animal Crossing, the game had a few months straight of being one of the best-selling in the world. With so many people playing the game, a black market has slowly emerged behind the scenes. This is where players are selling the most wanted Villagers, animals that can come and live on your island, for in-game cash, and sometimes real world money as well.
Allegedly one Twitter account in particular, which has not been named, sold characters for between 5 and 8 thousand yen at a time. While that’s roughly only £40, that’s still a lot of money for a character in a game. I’ve seen some markets where you can expect to pay between 15 and 20 million Bells, the aforementioned in-game cash, or 2000 Nook Miles Tickets, which are a sort of premium currency earned via activities in the game.
However, Nintendo has taken notice of this practise, and they’re threatening action. They specifically point out that this kind of behaviour violates the game’s terms of service, and will be dealt with on a case by case basis. I think the reason that they’re going to need to deal with each case individually is to allow themselves the ability to only track down individuals making money from Villager sales.
Since it’s going to be against the terms of service to profit from the sale of a Villager, Nintendo can crack right down on your actions as soon as they see any sort of evidence that money was exchanged. When it comes to Bell and Nook Miles Ticket purchases though, I think their hands might be tied. You see, players aren’t actually exchanging any real world money in these instances, and you can’t buy Bells or Nook Miles Tickets with real world money, so there’s no value attached to the currency, other than what players put on it. by the same logic, flower petals could be used as currency, and Nintendo’s hands would still be tied.
I’m interested to see how Nintendo plays this one. It’s a difficult situation, but ultimately the black market that doesn’t use real world money isn’t hurting them or the players. I say just let it happen. What do you say?