Animal Crossing: New Horizons has in-game purchases reveals age rating board

The new Animal Crossing on Nintendo Switch may have microtransactions, as fans wait to see what exactly they’re used to buy.

We’re in the second week of February now and still the only big-name Nintendo game to be confirmed for this year is Animal Crossing: New Horizons on 20 March.

Not only is it the only confirmed game but we know relatively little about it so far, in part because it’s a difficult game to preview – although there was some controversy last week over whether it allows cloud saves or not.

And now it’s in the news because the American ESRB age rating board lists it as containing ‘in-game purchases’, which has got fans worried that it’s going to be full of microtransactions.

While Nintendo has released expansion passes for many of their recent games most of those have been very warmly received, but despite making $1 billion from mobile games they’ve never usually included microtransactions in full price games.

You’d hope that would also be the case for Animal Crossing, even though it must be very tempting to try and charge for new furniture and items in the game. Although surprisingly Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp on mobile, which does just that, has only proven a mild success.

Adding to the confusion is that the use of the phrase ‘in-game purchases’ by the ESRB does seem fairly inconsistent, when looking at existing Nintendo games.

It could be that New Horizons is planning some sort of large scale-expansion, but most of the Nintendo games that feature that as an option – everything from Pokémon Sword/Shield to Zelda: Breath Of The Wild – don’t have the term in-game purchases in their rating.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate does though and so too does Fire Emblem: Three Houses, as while the upcoming story expansion Cindered Shadows is the main attraction in its expansion pass there have been a lot of much smaller DLC extras as well.

The phrase’s use is inconsistent enough that it’s not quite time to push the panic button on Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but some clarification would be welcome.

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