Nintendo Cryptically Points Out That Selling 'Animal Crossing' Assets For Real Money Violates ToS

from the sooooo? dept

Back in May, we wrote about something of an economy springing up around Nintendo's hit game Animal Crossing. With so many folks enduring the hardships of layoffs, or unable to find work, it turns out there are people making very real world money selling in-game assets and collecting payment outside of Nintendo's platform, which doesn't have a method for these types of transactions. This sort of thing fascinates me on many levels, perhaps mostly in how nearly perfectly this highlights the reality of income disparity in America. Some folks have to farm digital bells to make money by selling them to people with enough money to buy them.

But we also mentioned in that post that Nintendo is notoriously protective over how its games are played and used. On top of that, the only real way to be effective in this economy is to screw around with the clock and timer settings on the console itself to speed up the harvesting process. That, too, is the sort of thing that normally gets Nintendo's fur up. So, it's perhaps not surprising that Nintendo has pointed out recently that all of this violates its Terms of Service, though the company has remained cryptic as to exactly what it plans to do about it.

Nintendo has strictly defined rules about monetization. As clearly stated on the network services guidelines, Nintendo writes, “You may monetize your videos and channels using the monetization methods separately specified by Nintendo. Other forms of monetization of our intellectual property for commercial purposes are not permitted.”

J-Cast reached out Nintendo regarding the real-money trade of Animal Crossing: New Horizons characters. “We are aware of the violation of our terms of use,” Nintendo replied. Nintendo added that it is currently considering what steps should be taken regarding the sale of New Horizons characters.

One presumes the same would be true for in-game assets like Animal Crossing's bells. As stated, Nintendo has a reputation for this... but should the company drop the hammer on this sort of behavior? I've put some thought into this and I can't really come up with a systemic major problem that is or could be caused by this emergent economy springing up around a game like this. How much does this break the game's community, given that there is clearly a demand from players for buying these assets? And how much interest in the game is built on players knowing they have an outlet for progression through these purchases?

Interesting as those questions may be, Nintendo doesn't typically come off as though it engages in this type of self-interrogation. Instead, the company sees something happening outside of its control, has a visceral reaction to that something, and reacts with a heavy hand. Note that the quote from the Nintendo rep above says Nintendo is deciding what to do about all of this, not whether it should do anything at all. Which is too bad.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: animal crossing, economies, in game sales, terms of service, virtual goods
Companies: nintendo

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2020 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, it's fine when rich people get others to riot so they can collect power and get their own way.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.