Content Continues Below

Super Mario Run launched last December to much buzz, as Nintendo’s portly plumber made his first mobile offering. Yet despite being downloaded 78 million times, the full version was only purchased by 4 million people – falling short of Nintendo’s hopes.

Company President Tatsumi Kimishima outright said in an interview with Nikkei that the game “did not meet our expectations.” While the Android launch this week will certainly help, as will the updates to the iOS version, the one-time pay model for the title likely means it’ll be a short boost followed by more stagnation.

Reasons for the lack of sales might be attributed to confusion over the game’s “onboarding” pricing model, which made many befuddled and upset over the lack of clarity about what in the game was free or not. Not to mention the one-time pay model on mobile is much less lucrative than the freemium games that saturate the platform, such as Nintendo’s own Fire Emblem Heroes.

Speaking of Heroes, despite that game’s more prolonged success, the company has no intention of switching to freemium models for most of its games. “Heroes’ is an outlier,” a senior company official said. “We honestly prefer the ‘Super Mario Run’ model.” While this move certainly seems consumer friendly, it calls to question how profitable future mobile entries will be for the company.

Super Mario Run is available now on both iOS and Android at $9.99 for the full version. Do you think Nintendo should stick with the SMR model, or shift more towards FEH freemium styles of payment? Let us know in the comments.

Leave a Comment

Written by Amelia Fruzzetti

A writer and Nintendo fan based in Seattle, Washington. When not working for NinWire, she can be found eating pasta, writing stories, and wondering about when Mother 3 is finally going to get an official localization.