1 Animal Crossing
No opponents or competition, in “Animal Crossing: New Horizons”, released at the end of March on the Nintendo Switch console, we set up our island, we pick fruit and we trade with our neighbors, all in a colorful universe and childish that evolves with the seasons.
And the recipe hits the mark: the game rose to the top of physical sales in France in 2020, according to figures from the GfK institute, dethroning for the first time in seven years “Fifa” and “Call of Duty”. Worldwide, Nintendo reports that the game has sold more than 26 million copies.
“The absolute success of Animal Crossing can be explained by two factors: a basic trend, which is family play, and a cyclical trend, which was confinement,” analyzes Nicolas Vignolles, general delegate of SELL (the Syndicat des entertainment software vendors).
For him, many parents, suddenly confined with their children, turned to video games for family entertainment, and “Animal Crossing is the perfect parent-child encounter” game.
As for the change of scenery offered by this opus, many have found an escape from an anxiety-provoking period. “This is a fortuitous coincidence” noted Philippe Lavoué, director of Nintendo France, in the columns of Le Figaro, “but we are happy to have helped confined people to feel less alone and to escape mentally” .
2 Among Us
This is the video game surprise of 2020: developed by the small American studio Innersloth, “Among Us” is released in 2018 in complete anonymity. This does not prevent its three developers from continuing to improve their concept, until it ends up being spotted by streamers on the Twitch platform in the summer of 2020. In November, the game was almost counting. half a billion users, according to figures from Superdata.
In this adaptation of the werewolf game, ten players are locked in a spaceship and must complete various tasks, while one or more impostors hide among them. Each part is punctuated by lively discussions to flush out the culprits and eliminate them.
The popularity of “Among Us” online is such that politicians have tried it, such as elected Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, icon of the American progressive left, in a game broadcast live on Twitch, with the aim of getting young voters to vote in the US presidential election.
For Nicolas Vignolles, it is these exchanges between players that are at the heart of Innersloth’s success: “Among Us is on the border between the social network and video games. Nearly one in two players in France today believes that video games can create social links. It didn’t exist before. […] This underlying trend has increased with confinement. “
3 Ring Fit Adventure
If sports and video games rarely go hand in hand, “Ring Fit Adventure” has proven the adage to lie this year. Sold on the Switch with a flexible ring and a strap to attach a controller to his leg, this title offers the player to fight monsters by doing physical exercises in front of his TV.
Confinement and curfew combined with the closure of sports halls have pushed many players to give it a try, to the point of causing a stock shortage. “Demand has exceeded our forecasts so much that we have not been able to keep pace in terms of production,” Nintendo lamented in a press release in August.
4 FIFA 21
The stoppage of most football competitions and the postponement of the Euro have in no way affected the interest of the players in the sports simulation of Electronic Arts, used to the top of the rankings. According to GfK, the 2020 vintage is at the top of physical sales in 16 of the 19 European countries studied by the institute.
5 Board games –
Chess, Backgammon and other Unos thrived in homes during lockdown, as did their video game versions.
“The success of these games this year may have been a bit confusing for their simplicity” notes Nicolas Vignolles, who sees them above all as “bridges” allowing parents to “gradually enter video games”.
Sign of this craze: “51 Worldwide Games”, a compilation of these traditional games released on Switch, is among the best sales of the year in France, according to the director of Nintendo France in his interview with Le Figaro.
For its part, the site chess.com, which allows you to play chess online, registered 2.5 million new members in November alone, also well helped by the popularity of the American mini-series “The Lady’s Game” broadcast on Netflix.
“The great lesson of confinement is that the video game has definitely broken this stereotype of leisure which can lock up and isolate,” concludes the general delegate of SELL. “It was a hell of an antidote to isolation. “