Animal Crossing Pocket Camp Now Has Subscription Services
Animal Crossing Pocket Camp has been many fans’ way to cope for the lack of Animal Crossing games on the Switch. It’s a cute, relaxing game that allowed players to decorate a camp and populate it with anthropomorphic villagers.
However, Nintendo is becoming more aggressive when it comes to monetizing the game. From the introduction of fortune cookies to locking in-game items behind premium currency, the company’s actions suggest that the millions of dollars Animal Crossing Pocket Camp has earned in its first two years are still not enough.
Pay More to Receive More
The newly-introduced subscription model asks for a lot of money for items that used to be obtainable for free. It’s an intrusive system that takes the relaxing nature of the game away from it.
During the game’s first year, the gameplay loop revolved around players doing menial tasks for villagers. Your friendly neighbors reward you with gifts and items, which you use to decorate your camp. Tasks are time-bound; doing tasks pulls up a time countdown, and the task gets completed once the timer runs out. Just like the usual function in mobile games, you could spend premium currency to speed up these time barriers.
Over the past two years, Nintendo added more microtransactions to the game, including fortune cookies and premium-currency exclusive items. Fortune cookies allow players to obtain villager-specific items that match their themes, and are hard to obtain using other methods. Meanwhile, the exclusive items locked behind premium-currency used to be obtainable through the game’s regular currency.
Another Layer of Monetization
Nintendo is clearly getting more aggressive with the methods they use to monetize their mobile games. To add to the current methods of monetization for Animal Crossing Pocket Camp, Nintendo will be rolling in subscription-based services.
The subscription service comes in two tiers. A $2.99 and a $7.99 monthly subscription fee versions exist. In comparison, Mario Kart Tour’s subscription service costs $4.99, while both Google Play Pass and Apple Arcade subscriptions offer much more at $4.99.
The $2.99 subscription nets players 60 Leaf Tickets (the in-game premium currency) and assigns a villager to look after your camp while you’re away from the app. The more expensive $7.99 option gives five additional fortune cookies and expanded storage space.
Nintendo has been experimenting with different models of monetization with their IPs. Super Mario Run, Dr. Mario, Animal Crossing Pocket Camp, Fire Emblem: Heroes, and the most recent Mario Kart Tour all had different forms of microtransactions. Of all these games, Fire Emblem: Heroes made the most money over the course of its life. Meanwhile, Dragalia Lost, a new IP made specifically for the mobile market, also listed strong earnings despite its lack of strong branding. All of these titles are dwarfed by the astronomical earnings of Niantic’s Pokemon Go, which has earned over billions of dollars in microtransactions.
The performance of other Nintendo mobile games surely affected the decision to bring subscriptions to Animal Crossing Pocket Camp. However, not all these changes benefit players, especially when previously-available items become locked behind paywalls.