Nintendo’s Virtual Interest Rate Cuts
On Nintendo’s ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons,’ players are incensed after an abrupt policy shift from the ‘Bank of Nook.’ It used to be productive stashing the game’s ‘bell’ currency in a locked vault, but now the central bank has wiped out bell savers’ incomes with an interest rate cut from 0.5% to 0.05%. You couldn’t make it up!
Just like in real life, it’s become a reach for yield on Animal Crossing, a dash for trash. To make ends meet following the big monetary move, players are forced to abandon safe vaults and take bigger risks. There’s an internal bourse in the game that allows trading in rotting turnips, and some are risking their lives to catch tarantulas to resell to the bank.
“I’m never going to financially recover from this,” said one player. “There’s an island recession coming,” said another. The Bank of Nook claims players were getting too creative, adjusting the inner clocks on their devices to “time travel” years into the future, tricking raccoon bankers into dishing out decades’ worth of compound interest.
This is an example, albeit accidental, of brilliant gamification. Animal Crossing is showing kids what the real world can be like, and some of the challenges posed by changing economics at a lofty level. The well-received game has carried Nintendo through lockdown. Shares are storming back after the panic-selling of March.
What’s next? Is unlimited quantitative easing on the way, a trade war, a monster stimulus package from Nook? We’ll keep you right up to the money!