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Animal Crossing fans are paying real money for turnip priority

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Fans rally to support the leading turnip selling market

KK Slider in Animal Crossing, performing next to two other villagers. Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Animal Crossing: New Horizons turnip market is serious business: Every week, players try and make an in-game profit off the root vegetable. But if you want to get a good return on your investment, you probably have to rely on other players sharing their own turnip prices. And the most popular place to find people playing the Stalk Market has to be Turnip Exchange.

According to Jaku, a Twitch streamer who runs the site, Turnip Exchange has around 250,000-300,000 unique users per day, which is incredible for a website that didn’t exist just a few months ago. Here, players can list their island amenities, along with an entrance fee, for other players to peruse and visit — or they can check out other people’s islands instead. Most folks go to Turnip Exchange looking to make a profit, but once there, they find out it’s a portal to nearly anything you could want in the game, from DIY recipes to special wandering merchants. But if you’re there for good turnip prices, you often have to join a queue that can mean hours of waiting.

Such popularity comes with a price, of course. While Turnip Exchange is completely free for anyone who wants to use it, the website launched a Patreon in April to help cover server costs — and to give fans a way to support a vital community tool. For $5, patrons can get priority listings on the website, so anyone loading onto Turnip Exchange looking for a host will see those islands first. For $10, patrons can get a custom background for their listings. $15, meanwhile, gets patrons a custom URL.

The Patreon was technically live before Turnip Exchange launched — it’s a part of the Warp World network, which is also run by Jaku. Prior to Turnip Exchange, midway through April, we can see that the Patreon had a little over $1,000 worth of supporters. As of this writing, that number has gone up to $13,312 per month, spread across 2,100 supporters. Speaking to Polygon, Jaku says that the majority of these new patrons are there for Turnip Exchange, though they might go on to check out the wider network benefits offered on the Patreon too.

A small boar with turnips on her head, Daisy Mae, notes that she’ll be around on Sundays selling turnips in Animal Crossing: New Horizons Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo

“I think the number one reason people are pledging is because they value their time and our site makes it easy to do other things while you’re queued [for turnips],” Jaku says.

While everyday users can simply click a tab to check out non-Patreon islands, the folks who are willing to pay for visibility tend to put in more effort as hosts. These islands tend to fill up more quickly, Jaku says.

Tom Sachen, an Animal Crossing player who pays money for added Turnip Exchange visibility, says that he initially came to the site looking to make some bells. It was a good enough experience that he went on to host his own island when it had great turnip prices, and he found that folks were exceedingly generous with their visits. Despite not asking for anything in return, players left him “gold nuggets, Nooks Miles Tickets, [and] bags full of bells,” Sachen told Polygon in an email. Since then, Sachen has used the site to hold catalog swaps, where players pick up and drop items so that they can later purchase them in their own games.

For Turnip Exchange user Mary Mendez, it’s less about turnips than it is about supporting the people who make the experience possible.

“Being a patron has perks for sure ... but I think a big part of it is to just feel like you are a part of something great that others enjoy,” Mendez said.

“I have made many new online friends just from being a part of the community alone,” she added.

Image: Turnip Exchange via Polygon

While users might stay on Turnip Exchange for other activities, making a profit is often what leads them there in the first place. Even as folks host events and social gatherings, listings have one thing front and center: turnip prices. Anyone looking to become a bellionare has good incentive to drop actual cash to ensure they draw the most eyes on the site, especially when there are thousands of Animal Crossing players vying for attention.

“We still have a lot of features planned but want to make sure we tread carefully,” Jaku says. “We don’t ever want to make the service require a payment, and we for sure don’t want users to feel left out of new features. We have some new ideas planned for all users that we hope to release in the next few weeks.”