Super Mario Run Comes for Pokemon Go‘s Crown
Come at the Nidoqueen, you best not miss
Nintendo officially launched Super Mario Run, the franchise’s first mobile game, for iOS on December 15, and the initial numbers are in. Given Mario’s huge profile and the success of Pokemon Go, the company was hoping for impressive sales–even though the Android version won’t be available until 2017. However, Nintendo stocks actually dropped by 5% after the game’s release, as it looks like the road to profitability might be a little windier than expected.
For any other property, Super Mario Run‘s numbers would be cause for celebration, and the game may still rise to Nintendo’s expectations. With estimated first-day downloads near 3 million, it topped the App Store charts in quite a few of the 151 countries where it was released, and the Android version will boost its overall numbers. However, issues like the need for a constant internet connection, the $9.99 cost to unlock all levels and the iPhone exclusivity may have contributed to some slower-than-expected sales.
In terms of modernizing and democratizing, though, this looks like a step in the right direction for Nintendo.
There’s long been an anti-mobile snobbery in the gaming world, with mobile seen as the platform of casual and amateur gamers. (To be fair, I don’t think anyone would call Candy Crush a hardcore game.) In addition, a number of surveys and studies have found that women make up a significant percentage of mobile gamers, which also tends to bring misogyny into any mobile discussion. However, economics is slowly catching up with the industry. Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo’s Creative Fellow and creator of the original Super Mario Bros., spoke about some of the rationale behind Super Mario Run in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
“Where we’ve had challenges lately is more and more people are having fewer opportunities to come into contact with our games,” he said, “For many years the first gaming device that a kid would touch was a Nintendo system. Now we’re starting to see more and more that the first gaming device that kids touch is their parents’ iPhone. Obviously, with kids playing games on iPhones now, we wanted to make sure they had an opportunity to come into contact with our games and the Mario character.”
Of course, Miyamoto can’t quite let go of the console era. Speaking about the success of Pokemon Go, he said, “People are playing Pokemon Go, they’re learning the names of the Pokemon, they’re encountering Pokemon for the first time, and as a result of that there’s many more people interested in the 3DS games…Similarly, by releasing Super Mario Run on iPhones, our hope is that people will then be interested in our next system, Nintendo Switch.”
Hopefully, as more and more users are brought into gaming, both big-name companies and the community at-large will start to embrace users of all platforms and dedication levels.
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