Skip to content

Is Animal Crossing free with Nintendo Switch Online?

No, Animal Crossing: New Horizons itself is not free with a Nintendo Switch Online membership. You must purchase the full Animal Crossing game separately. However, subscribing to the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership plan will get you access to the Happy Home Paradise DLC for Animal Crossing: New Horizons at no additional cost.

Nintendo Switch Online Membership Options

Let‘s take a closer look at the membership options for Nintendo Switch Online (NSO):

Membership Type Price Benefits
Individual Membership $19.99/year Online play, cloud saves, NES & SNES games
Family Membership $34.99/year Above benefits for up to 8 accounts
Expansion Pack Individual $49.99/year All benefits + Happy Home Paradise DLC
Expansion Pack Family $79.99/year All benefits for up to 8 accounts

As you can see above, the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership is required to get access to the Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise DLC. This premium membership costs $49.99/year for individuals.

Nintendo‘s Expansion Pack Strategy

The Expansion Pack reflects Nintendo‘s strategy of driving more revenue from subscriptions. By bundling must-have extras like the Animal Crossing DLC into higher membership tiers, Nintendo incentivizes players to upgrade. This follows a similar path as Sony and Microsoft, which offer premium subscriptions for additional game libraries. Based on the Expansion Pack‘s sales since launch, the strategy appears to be working – analysts estimate over 11 million members as of April 2022.

What‘s in the Happy Home Paradise DLC?

Here‘s a deeper look at some of the major features you‘ll get access to with the Happy Home Paradise DLC:

  • Design vacation homes for island villagers with complete customization of layout, exterior, decor, lighting, yards, etc. This freedom is far beyond what you can do when decorating your own house and island in the base game.
  • Use over 900 new design items like furniture, fencing, floors, walls, lighting and more to decorate vacation homes. That‘s a whopping 30% increase over the base game‘s item selection.
  • New design techniques like partition walls, counters, pillars, accent walls, curved countertops, polishing, lighting controls, and more offer you incredible customizability.
  • Manage your own Paradise Planning team, customize the office, and meet new special characters that assign you vacation home jobs.
  • Earn Poki currency through your design work to spend on rare and exclusive items for your own island.

For players who love the creative aspect of decorating in Animal Crossing, Happy Home Paradise unlocks limitless new possibilities to let you flex your design skills.

Best Ways to Use Happy Home Paradise Features

Based on my experience designing vacation homes, here are some pro tips:

  • Talk to your Paradise Planning colleagues to get design ideas based on the villager‘s personality and interests.
  • Use partition walls to make separate rooms feel more spacious.
  • Customize every last detail – the DLC makes it possible!
  • Save favorite furniture combos and design elements to inspiration slots to reuse later.
  • Prioritize buying rare items you can‘t catalog to decorate your own island.

Online Play Benefits

Aside from the Happy Home Paradise DLC, a Nintendo Switch Online membership provides other great features when playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, such as:

  • Online multiplayer – Up to 8 players can play together on an island if you have a good internet connection. For example, you can host giveaways, trade items, play games, and more with online friends or strangers.
  • Design sharing – Upload your custom clothing designs, patterns, or room artwork to share online and import designs from other creators.
  • Custom design portal app – Use your real-life smartphone to scan QR codes and upload designs into Animal Crossing, instead of using the Switch‘s clunky on-screen keyboard.
  • Cloud save backups – Nintendo Switch Online lets you back up and restore Animal Crossing save files online, protecting you from console damage or loss.

The online features connect you with the vibrant Animal Crossing community to enhance your gameplay in fun ways.

Is a Membership Worth it for You?

Hopefully this detailed breakdown helps answer the question of whether Animal Crossing is free with a Nintendo Switch Online membership! To recap:

  • You must buy Animal Crossing: New Horizons separately.
  • The Happy Home Paradise DLC is included free with a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership.
  • This premium membership costs $49.99/year but offers great additional benefits.
  • For serious Animal Crossing fans, the membership is worth it for online play, backups, and the huge DLC.

With so much extra content and features included, the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership provides fantastic value, especially if Animal Crossing is your favorite game. The DLC alone makes it totally worth the upgrade cost. So while the base game isn‘t free, you do get the highly desired Happy Home Paradise add-on at no extra charge!