Confined to their homes because of the coronavirus pandemic, many people have turned to online, DIY cottage industries and projects to maintain some form of income and connection. Traders at one Chinese market now use WeChat and TikTok as a means to survive, and brands in the fashion industry have ramped up their presence on WeChat as a way to continue sales.
Animal Crossing New Horizons is about as far as you can get from a communications super-app geared toward in-app sales or collaboration. In fact, as a franchise originally made for children, it barely has a proper chat function. But as we watch real-world society grind to a painful halt, many players are now also using this game as an unexpected economic and creative lifeline.
Here’s the story of how this Nintendo Switch game has become an experimental playground for real-world businesses and creative experiences, letting players find new ways to mirror conventional culture with in-game resources.