Anyway, the simple answer is that as long as a series is profitable, there will most likely be another installment in the future.
And it's worth noting that Animal Crossing is one of Nintendo's evergreen tentpole franchises - titles that are more-or-less expected as part of the ecosystem on their consoles, and which always sell very well for a very long time.
After New Leaf's launch, it was clear that Animal Crossing was treated as one of Nintendo's greatest IPs. Throughout the entire Wii U and early Switch era, you'd catch a ton of Animal Crossing logos in their promotional material or social media banners. Software like the Badge Arcade heavily featured Animal Crossing, and it's one of the few IPs that Nintendo ported to mobile devices, alongside Mario and Fire Emblem. They were even added to Mario Kart, alongside Link. New Leaf ranks 7th among the best selling games of the 3DS' lifespan with 12.55 million copies sold, losing out only to Mario and Pokemon titles.
That in mind, New Horizons, despite only being out less than 3 months, has already passed New Leaf's numbers, with 13.41 million copies sold as of May 7th. This makes it just 4 million away from being one of the top 50 best-selling games on any console of all time. It's gotten great word-of-mouth recognition, with many celebrities actively playing it and talking about it, and shows like SNL or Last Week Tonight referencing it.
Nintendo's main goal is to make money. You don't look at these numbers and say "Eh, no point making another one". There will be more Animal Crossing games, guaranteed.
*Stands up and applauds* Beautifully written Gavin!
To add my $0.02 to your well-written point, it is also speculated that the Switch lifecycle is only just reaching its halfway mark, so we are looking at a 6+ year console (with on-going support a little after the next gen is released). I'm in no hurry to see the next iteration of Animal Crossing, but it's safe to say that New Horizons will be supported for the entire duration of the Switch console. Nintendo themselves shared that we should expect new updates and surprises for the next 2-3 years which would corroborate with the console's possible lifecycle.
Park Ranger at Patagatcha National Park
Keeping the peace for all critters and Animal Crossing villagers!
"and shows like SNL or Last Week Tonight referencing it."
This is the part that has really stood out to me. We've seen celebrities publicly express their AC fandom before - Dylan Sprouse even follows ACC on Twitter - but the series has really become mainstream in a way that it never was before. I still remember first hearing Sam Bee make a joke about it on her show - I had to rewind the video because seeing Animal Crossing mentioned on a mainstream comedy show was something I truly never thought I would see. Since then Bee has referenced it again, and it's also come up twice on Late Night with Seth Meyers. I haven't seen it on SNL yet because I'm only halfway through the season finale, but I look forward to getting to that one as well.
It's good to see that sales numbers are continuing to impress as well. I believe that Wild World was, at its peak, just inside the top thirty bestselling video games ever, but it's definitely been pushed way down the list since then and is now only the third-bestselling game in its own series.
"and if you do have it, would you say that it's better than new leaf?"
It was clear to me on day one that I would like New Horizons more than New Leaf - the only question now is whether it will surpass Wild World as my favorite game of all time. My biggest gripe with New Leaf was the difficulty level - previously rare fish and bugs just weren't anymore, especially thanks to the tropical island permanently set to August that you could access at any time. In March and April, as it seemed that New Horizons was, if not as egregious as New Leaf, still unfortunately closer to New Leaf than to Wild World on the difficulty scale, I pegged June as the month that would likely determine whether New Horizons would surpass Wild World on my personal list - the statistic that I most commonly cite to exemplify my frustrations with New Leaf is that I caught 54 sharks in the first month of the game, something I did not want to be possible once sharks came into season in NH. Now, though, as it seems that sharks are indeed unreasonably common once again, I find that NH is still likely to end up as my favorite - there's just so much else to love about this game that wasn't in NL that I'm willing to look past the abundance of sharks.
As far as the original topic is concerned, I'm perfectly satisfied with NH for now and haven't even been thinking about future games. The base game alone is enough for a year's worth of content thanks to bug and fish cycles as well as the fun new seasonal differences that have been added to the series, and the rolling updates model that Nintendo has gone with for this game make it likely that I will continue to play it for longer than the one year (plus two weeks, thanks to the bizarre decision to make the golden net only obtainable at the Bug-Off) for which I played NL.
Certainly will. It hurt the already hurting WiiU to only get that Amiibo Festival and the AC Plaza app. Even if you think NH is boring now or always was, the attention it got for being the quarantine game that makes you happy undoubtably only did nintendo good. I think what’ll be interesting to see now is how long it’ll be before we get another game. Will it be another mobile game? A side game for Switch? The series as a whole is as polarized as america. The main games are really good and are highly praised and can hold their weight over the years. Example: WW & CF still having online active users. But then the side games are notoriously panned and the community on average doesn’t like them.
I almost expect some kind of side game in 2020-21. Perhaps a better AF. Some of the mini games were good and the board game wasn’t so bad it just needed a lot more. Also if you played NL welcome Amiibo the Amiibo Festival games were in the 3DS & WiiU items just slightly toned down. Lol I’m not asking for Amiibo Festival Deluxe Switch I’m saying that’s what I expect. Something like that anyway.
Imo tho I thought HHD & AF were charming in their own ways. I put about 35 hours into HHD, mostly to use the Amiibo Cards but to explore the contents of NL freely lol.
"I think what’ll be interesting to see now is how long it’ll be before we get another game. Will it be another mobile game? A side game for Switch?"
I doubt we'd get a second mainline game for the Switch, especially if the Switch is around the halfway point of its lifespan -- Nintendo wouldn't want so much focus on the Switch during a new console, and Animal Crossing's long gameplay lifespan is enough to do just that.
I also doubt they'd make another AC mobile app. To make a second mobile game risks splitting the "AC mobile fanbase" between the two games, as some move to the new game, others stick with Pocket Camp. Then Nintendo would have to push updates for two games. And how many folks who weren't big on Pocket Camp would even be willing to get a second mobile AC game? I know I would have almost zero interest in it.
A spinoff title for the Switch is the most likely. HHD had minor integration with NL thanks to hotswapping. What if Nintendo took it a step further with a potential "HHD2" and allowed you to invite the villagers to live in your NH town (thus destroying the "counterfeit amiibo" market)? Or they could add a special mode where you can select your neighbors' houses from NH and freely decorate them, and have the changes actually apply to the main game? There are many ways to make a cute game that folks would love that also enhances NH.