“Super Mario Run” is an
endless runner, meaning Mario automatically runs from left to
right. You tap or swipe the screen to
Nintendo still hasn’t found success in smartphone
Even Nintendo’s biggest property, “Super Mario,”
struggled to succeed on mobile.
The biggest phone game of 2017, “Super Mario Run,” has been
downloaded over 200 million times. Even with that huge number of
downloads, Nintendo says it still hasn’t “reached an acceptable
The game is available on Apple iOS devices, like the iPhone and
the iPad, as well as Android devices. It costs nothing to
download, and the first few levels are available to play, but
anything beyond that requires a one-time $10 unlock fee.
Though “Super Mario Run” has been downloaded over 200 million
times, it sounds like only a fraction of those free downloads
users turned into paying customers. That’s not a huge
surprise — the mobile gaming market is notorious for low
(non-paying players converting into paying
Nintendo has even spoken about this problem in the past with
“Super Mario Run.”
As of January, the game was converting about 5% of its players.
Even if we’re being generous and saying that number rose to 10%,
that would mean just 20 million people paid $10 apiece for
“Super Mario Run.” After Apple takes its cut, and taxes come out,
Nintendo’s looking at a relatively paltry return. Instead of
looking at this solely from a product perspective, Nintendo’s
looking at “Super Mario Run” as a learning experience.
“We have learned a lot in terms of game development and
deployment that we want to take advantage of moving
forward,” Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said.
The change in approach can already be seen in
Nintendo’s next mobile game, “Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp” —
it costs nothing to download and play, and follows a free-to-play
model where users can pay to speed up in-game actions.
“Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp” isn’t out everywhere just yet, but
it’s already begun rolling out in Australia; the game will head
to other regions in the coming weeks. Check out a trailer for it