Marc Jacobs and Valentino bring luxury to Animal Crossing with virtual outfits
Nintendo Switch’s Animal Crossing: New Horizon has become a source of entertainment for so many people during the pandemic that Nintendo has been struggling to keep up with the demand.
Not only have players been turning to Animal Crossing to host virtual weddings and graduations with their friends, the game has also become a platform where players can express themselves through fashion. With the ability to change characters’ outfits in-game using QR codes, players are designing their own outfits for others to use, from Supreme to Chanel.
Already, some streetwear brands have noticed and have released their own outfits for players to wear around their simulated islands in the game.
Now luxury brands want in.
On Sunday, Marc Jacobs posted to Instagram sharing six outfits it has brought to the game, and posted download QR codes to Instagram Stories and Twitter. Players can wear the outfits in the game and then choose to buy them online.
Two days earlier, Valentino posted to Instagram announcing 20 new outfits for the game, taken from its Mens and Womens collections currently on sale. Valentino has been sharing behind-the-scenes “photoshoots” of the looks, and shared the QR codes for the outfits over Instagram Stories.
The fashion brands both partnered with @AnimalCrossingFashionArchive to create and share the new looks. Founded by visual artist and musician Kara Chung, The Animal Crossing Fashion Archive is one of several Instagram accounts to emerge for sharing players’ fashion in the game. The account now has more than 37,000 followers on Instagram.
In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, players are transported to tropical islands where they construct their own virtual worlds and make friends with anthropomorphic animals.
The cartoony game has already attracted streetwear brands like Highsnobiety and Dolls Kill, which have shared codes to outfits players can wear in the game and buy in real life, as well as esports teams like Gen.g and the Toronto Defiant which have crafted versions of their jerseys for use in the game. At the beginning of April, gaming and streetwear brand 100 Thieves made its entire apparel line available for characters to wear on Animal Crossing.
Video games have become much-needed sources of entertainment as people stay home on lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Total spending across game hardware, software, accessories and game cards reached $1.6 billion in the month of March 2020, the highest reported for a March month since 2008, according to the NPD Group. Verizon has reported that gaming on its network has seen a 75 percent increase in gaming since the pandemic began.
For that reason, many brands have been looking into the video game space, especially esports, to reach connected audiences as they stay indoors.
With the biggest names in the fashion industry having to postpone runway shows and deal with a canceled Met Gala, Animal Crossing could be a good way to connect with audiences during the COVID-19 slump.
Mat Piscatella, analyst for U.S. games at NPD Group, believes Animal Crossing has had a large impact on overall video games sales.
“It is Animal Crossing: New Horizons that truly defined March 2020 for the video game market and the corresponding period of social distancing,” wrote Piscatella in an NPD blog post. “There is a synthesis between this game and this time in history that will leave the two forever connected in the world of video games.”
Nintendo sold 1.88 million physical copies of the game in Japan, on track to become one of the country’s best-selling games. U.S. sales are slated to be released when Nintendo reports its earnings on May 7.
With ongoing pandemic lockdowns across the U.S., expect more Animal Crossing brand partnerships on the horizon.