Animal Crossing: New Horizons Account Restrictions Frustrating Many Families and Couples


Animal Crossing: New Horizons is hot right now. Kind of crazy hot. The game has smashed Switch sales records in the UK, delivering bigger launch numbers than major franchises like Mario and Pokemon. Reviews have also been very positive, although a trip to Metacritic reveals a surprisingly mediocre 6.8 user score, and a lot of zero-out-of-10 reviews. So what’s going on? Why is happy-go-lucky Animal Crossing, of all games, being review bombed?

Well, it all comes down to a rather frustrating account restriction. As in the past, multiple players can set up a house in the same village, but the first person who registers an account and sets up and names the island is designated the “Resident Representative.” So, why’s that an issue? Because only the Resident Representative can take on missions to progress and improve the island – everyone else is restricted to only improving their own house and perhaps sometimes contributing resources to a bigger project. Basically, the way it’s set up there’s one real player who controls the fate of the island and everyone else is just there for support.

Nintendo Switch Successor Hinted at by NVIDIA Next-Gen Console Tools Engineer Job Ad

Now, if you’ve got a situation where an adult is playing with a young child, maybe this setup makes sense. But it’s understandably frustrating if you’ve got multiple adults in the household who want to contribute equally. There’s also scenarios where one half of a couple played the game first and became the Resident Representative, but didn’t end up having much time to play, thus holding their spouse (or roommate, sibling, or whatever) back.

It’s pretty obvious why this restriction is in place – Nintendo wants to encourage people to buy multiple copies of Animal Crossing for multiple Switches, rather than just letting households share freely. Given the growing pushback, will Nintendo change their approach? I wouldn’t bet on it, but here’s hoping, as Animal Crossing: New Horizons is otherwise a very good game. Wccftech’s Dave Aubrey certainly enjoyed his time on the island

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the biggest reinvention of the series' mechanics and core gameplay loop, and that also makes it the best entry yet. This is a completely new kind of Animal Crossing experience while retaining everything you loved about the previous games. […] I adore Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and this is quickly becoming one of my most-played games on Nintendo Switch. If you've ever had a love slow-paced social sims like Animal Crossing or The Sims, this game is essential.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is available now on Nintendo Switch.