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How to Make Real Coin off of Animal Crossing

Chances are you probably heard of or play “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” the megahit Nintendo Switch game. The game has been a pure boon for Nintendo, with the company selling more Switch consoles during the week the game was released than the week of launch. 

The game, in which a player develops and decorates a deserted island, proved to be a great getaway from the pandemic-ridden real world. Unlike its predecessors, “New Horizons” allows players to interact with others, such as visiting each other’s island, sending gifts and sharing custom-made designs.

The game launched on March 20, as many parts of the world began to lock down due to COVID-19. The game has proven to be a great form of escapism, allowing users to connect in a way they haven’t been able to recently. Since then, users have let their imagination  run wild and fill in the gaps left by the pandemic, from holding virtual graduations to creating a Disneyland-themed island. 

Some clever individuals and businesses have found ways to make real money from this Animal Crossing hype. Here are few examples of those making bucks off of Animal Crossing:

@animalcrossingoutfits, an Animal Crossing New Horizons micro influencer 

Helen Chong is a university student in Australia and the owner of the Instagram account @animalcrossingoutfits. The account, which compiles interesting island design ideas as well as Animal Crossing memes, has racked up nearly 69,000 followers as of May 26.

Chong, who played the earlier versions of Animal Crossing and has been eagerly waiting for the newest game, said she initially created the account for her reference. But as she noticed her content resonated with others, she began to cater to her audience and grow her account. 

“I try to create value for people,” Chong said. 

Chong has become a microinfluencer in the Animal Crossing community, and brands like Animal Crossing merch sellers have reached out to her for paid sponsorships. 

“They would reach out to me and ask me to post about them on my [Instagram] Story,” Chong said.

Chong is currently working with the apparel brand Love, Bonito to post an Animal Crossing version of its clothes on her account. Chong reached out to in-game designers, who virtually recreated the brand’s design.

Image of the dress that Chong helped recreate in Animal Crossing.
Photo Courtesy of Helen Chong

“I coordinated between what the brand wants and the designers, as well as taking photos and styling the in-game avatar,” Chong said. 
Marketing within the game has been a growing trend in the fashion industry, with luxury brands like Maison Valentino and Marc Jacobs showcasing their collections on Animal Crossing.

In a little over three weeks, Chong made more than 4,000 Australian dollars (around $2,614) through merchandise sales and paid sponsorships. 

“This is very intuitive to me,” Chong said, who operated her first own online store when she was 13 and currently studies commerce.

Turnip Exchange, a platform that connects users for better “turnip” prices 

That’s the problem Turnip Exchange, a web application that connects users so they can make profit off of buying and selling turnips, wanted to solve. The team built the application a few days after the game was released.  

This is how it works: Hosts list their islands with their turnip prices and other relevant information. Users who want to visit those islands can “queue” until the host approves and sends out a special access code for the island (called the “Dodo code”).

 “Turnip Exchange was born off the idea of making the process of exchanging turnips in other people’s islands way more efficient,” Monica Mendez, the head of community at Warp World, the software developer startup behind this platform, told Bullish.

The platform has been “really successful,” according to Mendez. In April, Turnip Exchange had more than 4 million unique site visitors, more than 10 million users who have queued and more than 5 million islands listed by hosts. 

“We honestly did not expect Turnip Exchange to be the success it is,” he added.

Warp World has been accepting donations through its Patreon page and spending them on maintaining its server and adding new features. 

“While it was not initially profitable, it has become profitable for us,” Mendez said.

Olivia’s, a furniture brand providing in-game design consultancy service 

Olivia’s, a furniture brand, recently announced that it would connect Animal Crossing players who want to step up their islands with virtual interior design consultants. The designers can earn as much as £40 per hour for their service.

The virtual consultants visit the clients’ islands to discuss design ideas that are achievable within the in-game budget. They will also suggest potential ideas for redesigning the island in the future. The brand is currently seeking applicants for the consultant position. 

Olivia’s was not available to comment to Bullish.

Rachel Oh

Rachel Oh is a master’s student in journalism at Stanford University and a proud Northwestern wildcat. She likes to find joy in little things, such as reading good stories, meeting new people and cafe-hopping. She’s also a firm believer of earn, spend and grow 💵

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