Animal Crossing: New Horizons released to the masses last week and I (along with everyone else it seems) have been playing it non-stop ever since. On the run-up to its launch, I was playing as many PC games similar to Animal Crossing (opens in new tab) as I could find, which mainly consisted of many hours of Stardew Valley. But now that the serene life sim is out, I have migrated to the Switch, leaving my PC cold and dusty.
It's a shame that there's no game that's close to Animal Crossing's cosy community-based fun on the PC, especially as Nintendo has been adamant over the years that it has no interest in putting its games on PC (opens in new tab). It's unfortunate, particularly as other console-based companies are slowly making the move to the PC market, like Xbox's Game Pass and Play Anywhere initiative and Game Pass (opens in new tab) and PlayStation announcing previously exclusive games, like Horizon: Zero Dawn (opens in new tab), onto the PC. As we see gaming markets start to bleed into each other, Nintendo has firmly stayed true to its console-based roots.
There have been small hints that Nintendo could be re-thinking its console-only business plan. In 2019, during an interview with Nikkei (translated by Nintendo Everything via Eurogamer), Nintendo president Furukawa hinted that the company has been considering expanding outside of home console hardware in an attempt to stay as flexible as possible as technology progresses, although whether those plans include PC gaming is difficult to guess.
"We aren't really fixated on our consoles," Furukawa says in the interview. "At the moment we're offering the uniquely developed Nintendo Switch and its software—and that's what we're basing how we deliver the 'Nintendo experience' on. That being said, technology changes. We'll continue to think flexibly about how to deliver that experience as time goes on."
This isn't really surprising, as any technology-based company would want to keep in rhythm with what's new and Furukawa highlights this, mentioning Nintendo's move into the mobile market as well as ideas for potential theme parks and movies. But if we're talking about the changing technologies of videogames, then surely PC gaming is a big part of that progression.
It's obviously a pipe dream that Nintendo would eve release their games outside of their consoles. It's been doing ridiculously well, with the Nintendo Switch selling more than 52 million consoles and Animal Crossing smashing sales records in the UK boxed game chart. Although, I still think if Nintendo is serious about keeping up with technology then PC gaming should be on the cards (but that's my optimistic side talking).
Leaving progressions in technology, business decisions, and marketing choices aside for one moment, I think Nintendo's games would be perfect for PC because they fill a space in the market that has only just started to grow in recent years—fun, friendly, and relaxing play. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of funny, silly, and uplifting games on PC, but Nintendo is the grandfather of cosy family-friendly games, and releasing it's gaming backlog on PC would be as if the heavens had opened for players who like calm and good-natured fun.
Nintendo has been asking players to help plant trees, decorate houses, engage in some relaxing fishing, and to be kind to their neighbours from as early as 2001 when the first Animal Crossing game released. We need more games like this on the PC, now more than ever. With whats happening in the world right now, I don't want to shoot demons in the face—I want a peaceful tropical island where I can hang out with friends.
After seeing the success that Nintendo-inspired games have received on PC—Stardew Valley, A Short Hike, Undertale, Temtem, A Hat in Time, and the upcoming Animal Crossing-inspired Hokko Life—there's a want for these warm-hearted games on PC. It's proof that the 'Nintendo experience' would work well outside of consoles.