As the coronavirus outbreak forced governments to enforce lockdowns, people were forced to stay indoors unless there is a need to step out for essential supplies or medical emergencies. As such, the gaming industry reported a surge of demand for consoles and software as consumers sought forms of entertainment. Perhaps the most talked-about system amid the pandemic was the Nintendo Switch. Sales apparently skyrocketed shortly before and after the launch of the highly anticipated "Animal Crossing: New Horizons." In fact, the company recently reported an operating profit of 145 billion yen ($1.37 billion).

CNN pointed out that the data was pulled from the quarter that ended in June. Analysts noted that this exceeded all expectations as it was initially pegged to tip at just around 62 billion yen. This was a conservative estimate originally indicated by Refinitiv Financial Solutions. This puts it approximately at 428 percent over what Nintendo declared for the same period in 2019.

Video game pundits quickly credited "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" as the biggest contributor to Nintendo's latest success. Instead of most AAA titles which normally fit popular genres such as role-playing games, first-person shooters, action-adventures, and sports, it offers a unique experience. With most of the population confined in their homes, the relaxing life-simulation gameplay reportedly provided a welcome distraction for players.

Most reviews defined it as a virtual escape from the devasting reality of the ongoing health crisis. "Sales of this title continue to be strong, with no loss of momentum," stated Nintendo after it indicated that the game was its bestseller for the quarter. It was apparently "contributing greatly to the overall growth in software sales."

To date, 22.4 million copies of "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" -- both physical and digital combined – have been sold globally. This puts it just short of a few million below "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" at 26.7 million units. Moreover, the hybrid console itself was in such high demand that many retailers struggled to replenish their inventory.

'Animal Crossing: New Horizons' limited-edition Nintendo Switch
Nintendo will be releasing a limited-edition "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" Nintendo Switch on March 13, 2020. Photo: Nintendo

Nintendo attributed the supply issues to several of its production facilities in China being shuttered due to SARS-CoV-2. However, the Kyoto-based gaming group confirmed that operations have gone back to normal levels, which will address the reported shortages. Its most recent first-party title -- "Paper Mario: The Origami King" – released last month with strong sales as well.