Nintendo today announced that in the first four days of availability, the game was downloaded over 40 million times from the iOS App Store. In addition to playing up on the nostalgia factor by bringing hugely popular characters like Mario to the iOS platform, Nintendo stacked the deck by launching the game in 140 different countries. The company also says that Super Mario Run has hit the top 10 list for highest grossing games over 100 markets worldwide.
While this initial excitement over Super Mario Run is definitely encouraging news for Nintendo, there are some reasons for concern. For starters, only three levels of the game are playable for free, with a fourth level being limited to a short trial before you’re asked to fork over money to unlock the whole game. Many gamers have balked at the $9.99 price for the full game (available as an in-app purchase), which has torpedoed the average review rating for Super Mario Run to 2.5 stars.
"Pricing was designed to reassure parents that they would be charged just once, not multiple times," said Nintendo in a statement about Super Mario Run Pricing. "We hope to maximize the number of people who interact with our characters on mobile, to bridge them to console gaming and to create synergies."
In addition, Nintendo told the Wall Street Journal that despite the high price of entry, the company has no plans to add additional levels or content to the game going forward. That’s really disconcerting news, considering that games that cost far less are often given new life with continual updates (think Angry Birds). And we can’t forget about the need for an always-on internet connection.
It remains to be seen how well Super Mario Run will fare for Nintendo; the company is hoping that opening up its franchise heroes like Mario to other platforms in small doses will entice gamers to embrace its console platforms (i.e. Nintendo Switch). Now if we can just get Nintendo do bring some Zelda goodness to iOS and Android…