Uniqlo's 'Animal Crossing' Apparel Line Is Available In Real Life and In Game
“Animal Crossing” isn’t a traditional video game where your character has a specific goal, finish line or task. It’s basically just a way to participate in the economy on a smaller scale. You have a little plot of land on an island that you rent from the island’s owner. You work to obtain resources that you trade for currency, which you use to pay off debt. And you can buy apparel for yourself to wear while you go about your business.
That aspect makes it really easy to create merchandise that can exist both in the game and in the real world, which Nintendo has done in partnership with Uniqlo. In the digital world, the products will be available on a special island that even looks like the inside of a Uniqlo store.
Uniqlo’s “Animal Crossing” line includes apparel, as well as accessories like tote bags and towels. The line features characters within the game like K.K. Slider and in-game businesses like Dodo Airlines.
T-shirts and tote bags inspired by Animal Crossing: New Horizons will be released at UNIQLO stores on April 29th in Japan.
— ACNH Island News (@ACNewHorizonsEN) April 16, 2021
The digital versions will be available on the game next week, and they’ll hit shelves in Japan the next day, with U.S. stores following in early June, according to Input.
The way video games have incorporated in-game purchases and high levels of character customization has given way to this trend of digital and physical merchandise partnerships.
Disney has done this, giving “Star Wars” fans an opportunity to perfectly recreate their lightsaber from “Jedi: Fallen Order” at merchandise shops at Disney World in Florida.
Also, for a game with no defined end goal, it ensures prolonged player engagement. If you keep coming out with fun new merchandise and in-game developments, fans will keep playing. If they buy the shirt because they love the game, they’ll probably want to pair it with a digital version for their Nintendo proxy.
Video games have such enthusiastic followings. If you can tie in something from the game and bring it to real life, that’s a way to promote the game on two fronts.