Nintendo has set out guidelines for businesses and organizations that wish to use Animal Crossing: New Horizons "in relation to their business". The guidelines include restrictions on promotion, political content, and marketing campaigns.
What do these new Animal Crossing guidelines stipulate?
This news comes via a post on Nintendo's official website. In the post, Nintendo acknowledges that some businesses or brands may wish to use Animal Crossing for various business purposes. The Japanese giant says the guidelines are intended to "preserve the experience" for players enjoying the game recreationally. Businesses not found following the guidelines may face "appropriate actions" including a block on future usage.
According to Nintendo, here's what businesses and organizations are allowed to do in Animal Crossing: New Horizons:
- Provide a Custom Design and/or Dream Address to players
- Invite other players to an island
- Upload screenshots and/or game footage to "family-friendly websites" and social networks
When doing this, however, businesses must be mindful of the following restrictions (verbatim from Nintendo's website):
- Please be aware of the game rating and do not engage in activities that go beyond the rating.
- Please refrain from using the Game inappropriately or creating any content within the Game that would be considered vulgar, discriminatory, or offensive. Please also refrain from bringing politics into the Game.
- Please do not share false information about the Game with anyone, and do not deceive others while using the Game (e.g. falsely indicating you are separately licensed or otherwise approved by Nintendo).
- Please do not leverage the Game as a marketing platform that directs people to activities or campaigns outside the game (including directing people to a sales page, distributing coupons, sweepstakes, giveaways, requiring consumers to follow social network services accounts, gathering customers’ information, or other invitational activities).
- You are not allowed to obtain any financial benefit from using the Game (including selling your Custom Design or earning any advertising revenue with the Game content).
What does this mean for me as an Animal Crossing player?
There have already been several instances of businesses, brands, and organizations using Animal Crossing for promotional purposes or to raise awareness of causes. This year, Animal Crossing has seen its first Pride parade, been the staging ground for Hong Kong protests, and been the site of an animal rights protest, among other things. Nintendo is very clear that these restrictions apply only to organizations and businesses, not to individuals. If you want to express an opinion in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, that's your prerogative.
This will, however, mean a stop to organizations like the Biden campaign using Animal Crossing as a promotional tool. Time will tell whether this affects events like the Hellmann's mayonnaise charity drive, which technically doesn't contravene the rules; although it was set up by a corporation, it's a charitable endeavor that has no clear profit motivation (other than driving up sales through exposure, of course). We've reached out to Nintendo for clarification on these rules and their implementation, and we'll have more for you as we get it.
How do you feel about these new Animal Crossing business guidelines? Let us know in the comments below!