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The Significance of Scarcity in Animal Crossing New Horizons

The previous Animal Crossing games have done a great job of social interaction. At the time of its initial release, Nintendo defined its game type as communication. And this generation of New Horizons once again proved the value of this positioning. For game practitioners, this kind of design idea is worth studying; For ordinary people, in the uncertain world economy, how to understand the scarcity of resources, we can also find some answers in the game.

Visiting each other’s islands is the core of the social interaction of ACNH, and the underlying logic of visiting is precisely the scarcity in economics. After the creation of the island, each player’s Island will randomly produce 1 kind of ACNH fruit and 3 kinds of flowers (2 of which can be purchased from the store). But in the game, there are 6 kinds of specialty fruits and 8 kinds of flowers. If you want to collect other kinds of specialties, you have to exchange them with other players. According to the supply and demand curve, the supply of non local products is zero, and the demand is naturally great. On the one hand, fruits can be planted, and a fruit tree can produce three fruits. After several cycles, one orchard can be owned. The huge profits behind this are enviable, and every novice wants to have a try; On the other hand, flowers can’t grow exponentially. The fastest way to get flowers is to go to other Island store to buy unique seeds, which makes it a routine to visit. At the same time, ACNH restores another real economic detail: scarcity will lead to the rise of prices. Our island’s specialty fruit is pear, its selling price is 100 Ling coin (game currency), the purchase price is 400 bells Animal Crossing, and the selling price of other specialty fruit is 500 bells. This makes Cross Island trade a profitable business.

If we go on like this, Nintendo can design a complex price system and use transaction to drive social interaction. But if you think so, you underestimate Nintendo. In 2003, when interviewed by Nintendo online magzine, the producer of Animal Crossing series once said: “those who have been fishing will find unique fish, and those who have been collecting furniture will find unique Animal Crossing furniture. One day, when two people suddenly meet, they will sigh, they will start chatting, and the first social intercourse will appear . What is hidden in this passage is the comparative advantage in the concept of economics. The life skills in ACNH and WOW are different. Everyone can try fishing, insect catching, furniture collection, fashion design and so on. However, our time is limited and we are unlikely to develop in an all-round way. At this time, each player has the most things, as well as the unique knowledge gained in practice, it becomes a social media.

In the game, shops and clothing stores will update a batch of props every day, and a specific NPC will appear on each island every week, selling wallpaper, socks, shoes and bags. This is the driving force of daily visits. In addition, there are many ways for the game to randomly obtain furniture and clothing, such as the formula in the seaside drifting bottle/sky gift, dialogue with small animal NPC/gift giving, shaking the tree (furniture will fall off the tree, a strange setting), and so on. Once you get items that can’t be made, players can buy them directly in the game. Behind all kinds of furniture is hard work. Therefore, many players will share their props and formula information in the community, and some scarce benefits can also be shared.

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In addition to the clothes and furniture that are always scarce, ACNH also designs some limited time rare scenes. For example, the star stick and beautiful star furniture that can be changed with one click need star fragments to make, and star fragments need players to look up at the sky when the meteor is across the sky, and press the a key with empty hands to make a wish. Under normal circumstances, the frequency of meteors is very low, but in the island with meteor shower, the sky can cross more than 200 meteors in a few hours. You can imagine how popular players will be when they encounter meteor shower. In this way, through different dimensions and different levels of scarce design, both beginners and experienced players will internalize visiting into their own daily life, contact other people’s islands, understand different contents, and then produce more social behaviors inside and outside the game. However, these designs can only ensure the social interaction among game players, and another design of economic behavior is the bigger breakthrough for Animal Crossing New Horizons to go out of the circle.

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