'Animal Crossing' helps put Nintendo on a roll

A desert island populated by cute cartoon characters just might be the promised land for Nintendo.

The smash-hit game ‘Animal Crossing’ is driving a surge in numbers to Switch Online.

That’s the Japanese firm’s gaming subscription service.

On Wednesday (September 16) Nintendo said subscriber numbers had jumped to 26 million, up from 15 million at the start of the year.

The Kyoto-based firm said ‘Animal Crossing’ was a big driver of that.

Though other games including the latest Pokemon titles have also helped.

It’s all welcome news for Nintendo, which was slow to move into subscription-based services.

Instead it’s focused on its portable Switch device, which has seen sales boom this year as consumers look for home entertainment.

Rivals Sony and Microsoft have been targeting subscription and cloud gaming options.

The U.S. giant on Tuesday (September 15) launched a cloud service for its Xbox titles on Android devices.

On Wednesday Nintendo reaffirmed its commitment to software and hardware.

In October it will launch a ‘Mario Kart’ toy that can be controlled by the Switch.