When might an Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo Switch system be announced? (ANALYSIS)

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We have exactly two more months left to go until Animal Crossing: New Horizons launches on March 20th and there’s one big question remaining: will we see an announcement of a special edition Nintendo Switch system for Animal Crossing and when might it be announced?

Since we’re getting closer to the release of New Horizons with anticipation rising for both the game and a possible special edition console, let’s take a look back at when previous Animal Crossing systems and bundles were announced in relation to their release dates.

By analyzing these announcement dates to release dates, we can hopefully get ourselves an idea of when to expect such an Animal Crossing announcement to drop if it’s going to happen.

We’ll also just get to have some fun looking back at history of past Animal Crossing system releases — it’s possible you haven’t seen some of them before!

Animal Crossing: New Leaf ‘Poptart’ Nintendo 3DS XL

By far the most famous of the special edition Animal Crossing hardware out there, this unique Nintendo 3DS XL system released for Animal Crossing: New Leaf was quickly dubbed the ‘Poptart’ console by fans.

The system featured a special pattern design of Animal Crossing icons like the leaf and came with a copy of New Leaf pre-installed on the SD Card.

It was announced for release in Japan in a Nintendo Direct on October 2nd, 2012 with a release 37 days later on November 8th, 2012 alongside Animal Crossing: New Leaf. (yes, it’s been that long!)

For prosperity, here’s a clip of the Nintendo Direct announcing the system below…

As for the overseas release, it was announced on April 17th, 2013 with the release of the game 53 days later on June 9th in North America.

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer New Nintendo 3DS XL

Only a few years later, the famous ‘Poptart’ console got a successor in the form of a special edition New Nintendo 3DS XL for the spin-off game Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. Fitting the theme of the game, the console features a pattern of Animal Crossing furniture items and buildings. We un-boxed the system here!

The special edition Happy Home Designer system was announced for Japan on May 31st, 2015 with a release 60 days later on July 30th, 2015. For the overseas Europe release, it was announced on July 27th, 2015 for a release 67 days later on October 2nd, 2015.

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer New Nintendo 3DS

Although this console wasn’t technically a special edition so much as a regular model with an included face plate, it was released for Happy Home Designer and announced beforehand, so we can still use it as a data point in our analysis.

The system came with a digital copy of Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer and two Animal Crossing decorative face-plates. We reviewed it here!

This special edition bundle was announced for release in North America on September 1st, 2015 and it was released 24 days later alongside Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer on September 25th.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf New Nintendo 2DS XL

This system wasn’t released alongside any new Animal Crossing game, but it’s still a special edition console for the series, and it was a damn good one! I think it’s the best designed Animal Crossing system of them all and I’d be more than pleased to see a similarly themed Nintendo Switch.

The Animal Crossing: New Leaf New Nintendo 2DS XL was announced on July 3rd, 2017 and released 17 days later on July 20th in Europe. As you’d expect, the system came bundled with a digital copy of New Leaf.

Due to the very short release window, likely because of how the system wasn’t launching with a new game release, we won’t be counting it in our analysis. It’s here anyway since it’s a beautiful system and we wanted to go over everything though!

When might an Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo Switch be announced?

Finally, we’re ready to try answering the million dollar question of this article! Here’s a quick handy table of our findings:

SystemAnnounced Days Before Release
Happy Home Designer New 3DS XL (EU)67
Happy Home Designer New 3DS XL (Japan)60
New Leaf 3DS XL (NA)53
New Leaf 3DS XL (Japan)37
Happy Home Designer New 3DS (NA)24

And after analyzing all of the data collected above, here’s our main takeaways:

  • The average of every Animal Crossing special edition system is an announcement 48 days before release, and the median is 53 days.
  • The shortest amount of days is an announcement 24 days before release, with the Happy Home Designer New 3DS.
  • The longest amount of days is an announcement 67 days before release, with the Happy Home Designer New 3DS XL.

For reference, we are currently about 60 days away from Animal Crossing: New Horizons when writing this article. So basically, the window of announcements for a potential Animal Crossing Nintendo Switch system is right about now!

Based on the data, we should most likely expect to see an announcement sometime in the next two weeks or so. And if we don’t hear about one by around the 30 day mark, it’s time to starting thinking we won’t be getting an Animal Crossing Nintendo Switch.

Will there be an Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo Switch?

Throughout this article, we’ve been operating off the basis that there will be an Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo Switch and it’s just a matter of when it will be announced, not if. But those are just assumptions, we don’t actually know if there will be one.

Previously, I felt almost completely certain there would be a special edition system for New Horizons, although I must admit my confidence has been wavering lately. Writing this article has made me realize once again though that it’s still entirely possible for an announcement to come as late as in the next few weeks.

In fact, it would be very likely for such a big announcement to coincide with either an Animal Crossing Direct or heavy Animal Crossing presence in a general Nintendo Direct. So let’s hold out and see if such a Direct occurs in the next few weeks. If that happens and there’s no Animal Crossing Switch shown, it’s probably not coming.

Regular Switch or Switch Lite?

One final question remains though… would an Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo Switch system come in the form of the regular Nintendo Switch or Nintendo Switch Lite?

Special editions consoles have been released in the past for both versions of the Switch, so it’s hard to say. Here’s a Switch Lite for Pokemon, and a regular Switch for Disney Tsum Tsum Festival.

Personally, I believe a Switch Lite is more likely due to the lower price tag and Nintendo may be targeting a lot of new Switch buyers picking up the system primarily to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons. We have also just seen some new in-store marketing materials in Canada that specifically promote the Switch Lite. (pictured above)

On the flip side, some fans are already asking about whether it could mean something that there isn’t an Animal Crossing Switch Lite system displayed on these very ads. It’s a fair question, but I don’t think it should be used to rule anything out yet.

Anyhow, that just about covers everything I wanted to discuss about the potential upcoming Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo Switch system and when it could be announced!

Thanks for reading all the way to the end and please let me know in the comments what system you’d like to see. Hopefully an announcement will come soon!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons launches worldwide in two months from now on March 20th! Check out our release date countdown here, or pre-order the game here. Stay tuned to Animal Crossing World for more news as we approach the release!

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I have a Switch already, but I’d definitely spring for a special edition of either a full Switch or a Lite. I had a 3DS when the pop tart New Leaf 3DS XL came out and I got one anyway. It was my absolute fav and I still play it. I also won’t let anyone (especially my kids) touch it because it’s a special edition and they drop everything, haha! I’m betting that the design on an AC Switch for New Horizons will have an adorable island-themed pattern. Can’t wait to see if they release one. I think it’s coming… Read more »


i’ve been holding off buying a switch just in case they released an animal-crossing themed switch. i’m really hoping they announce it soon i’m dying here nintendo.

Audrey Meares

Same with me.


Same here! Please stay strong…


It’s only been 8 years since New Leaf’s debut, because the Wii U failed miserably, got quickly discontinued after just a year, was swept under the rug, forgotten about, and games like Animal Crossing while in development quickly got ported over to Switch, thus they had to start over developing it for Switch instead of Wii U, delaying its release into 2020.


Oh I hope it won’t be a lite … I don’t own a switch and I want the full version, it would be a shame if they didn’t make one and holding off for so long would be pointless and make me sad…


From everything I have read, its most likely going to be a lite. They already have released animal crossing themed PowerA controllers, and other stuff. If you want a regular switch the time is now to get one, because the themed AC one will be a lite.

Amanda Feijoo

I’m also waiting to buy a limited edition switch. Ive been waiting since New Horizons was first announced.


Thanks for the summary!!! Fingers super crossed for a limited edition switch / switch lite…


Honestly if they do announce a themed one it will def be a switch lite. If anything for the regular switch it will be official nintendo themed joy cons or pro controllers like the ones PowerA announced.