If you get Animal Crossing's Happy Home Paradise DLC via the Switch Online + Expansion Pack plan and then unsubscribe, it won't be a total loss


You’ll lose archipelago access but still retain certain things on your main island

Nintendo had a flurry of news for Animal Crossing: New Horizons fans this morning with the Animal Crossing Direct. In the hustle and bustle of the game’s huge free update that fans are stoked about, the $25 Happy Home Paradise DLC that’s reminiscent of a certain 3DS game, and the head-turning Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack $50-per-year pricing bombshell, it was easy to miss a detail about what happens when you buy the DLC compared to what happens when you get the DLC via the Expansion Pack plan and then unsubscribe. Do you lose access? The answer might sway you one way or the other.

As Nintendo explained in a statement to Eurogamer, if you access New HorizonsHappy Home Paradise DLC using a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription and eventually decide you want to go back to the cheaper $20-per-year Nintendo Switch Online base plan — or you no longer want to pay Nintendo an ongoing fee at all and fully unsubscribe — then you’ll lose functionality in the game, but not quite everything.

“Players can still continue to access certain things they have unlocked in Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise on their main island, including adding counters, partition walls, as well as adding ambient lighting and soundscapes, even if their access to Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise is suspended. However, it will not be possible to visit the archipelago if players lose access to the DLC.”

“To be able to visit the archipelago and take on requests of designing vacation homes again, you will need to purchase the DLC separately or renew the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership,” according to Nintendo.

Animal Crossing Happy Home Paradise DLC soundscapes

I keep seeing confused comments about the Animal Crossing DLC seemingly requiring a subscription, so this is worth reiterating — it doesn’t; the DLC is not exclusive to the Expansion Pack plan. You can buy it on its own. Blame the messaging!

This whole scheme is more confusing than it probably needs to be, and it’s almost more of a what-if situation, but I can see this information being useful for folks with a household of Animal Crossing: New Horizons players who intend to spring for the $80-per-year “family plan” version of NSO + Expansion Pack that covers up to eight users. Hence this post.

Taking on villager requests for the Paradise Planning team is going to be the main draw for this DLC, but it’s good to know that you won’t lose everything if you drop out of the subscription rat race. That said, I feel like the majority of New Horizons players will want to — and arguably should — just go for the $25 keep-it-for-good separate purchase of the Happy Home Paradise DLC and skip the pricier online service tier altogether.

Unless Nintendo is going to feature more first-party game DLC in the Expansion Pack down the road — or truly nail it with the N64 games and the release schedule — then paying $50 per year as an individual (or $80 per year as a family) is going to be ridiculous. For many people, this notion already is. These perks can’t feel “static” or it’ll bleed subs.

Even as someone who digs New Horizons, I wish I could get the Expansion Pack for the Nintendo 64 games and avoid the DLC in exchange for a more-expensive-but-not-that-expensive new tier. I’m curious (and not that hopeful) to see how this all shakes out.