Nintendo’s Super Mario Faces Challenges, First Week of Release on Apple

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Nintendo’s first game to be released on Apple devices has entered the market with pomp and pageantry.

Nintendo’s Super Mario was released two days ago to Apple users. It is available for download on IOS apple store for a price.

As soon as it was released to a global market on Thursday, users across the world rush to download it as expected, but that has not culminated into fulfilled expectations for Nintendo just yet.

The game was at the top of download rankings in 68 countries, but was the highest grossing game in only 14, according to researcher SensorTower. Nintendo shares closed 4.2 percent lower in Tokyo, wiping out about $1.5 billion in market value. Partner DeNA Co., which helped develop the title, fell 6.8 percent.

Although it was acknowledged that Super Mario may not record the same success as the Android game, Pokemon Go, released earlier this year, many expect users to find it very interesting like its console version.

There were also some concerns about the cost of downloading it at $10. Nintendo defended the cost by saying people pay more for other games by downloading stage by stage but one cost unlocks all three stages in Super Mario iOs.

“Having a fixed price tag means profit will be limited because smartphone games make big money through free-to-play features,” said Tomoaki Kawasaki, an analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities Co. “Still, the low revenue rankings, especially in Japan, may be because the game was released only a few hours ago,” he said.

However, Bloomberg reports that plenty people are downloading it but many fans don’t want to pay.

Within twelve hours of its release at 1pm Thursday in New York, Super Mario Run reached No. 1 in revenue rankings in the U.S. and 27th in Japan, up from seventh and 107th immediately after the release, respectively. The U.S. and Japan are the world’s second and third-largest app markets, according to researcher Newzoo.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if players choose to see how much enjoyment they can wring out of those first three levels as possible before making the decision to drop $10,” said Randy Nelson, head of mobile research at SensorTower.

The release is the first full test of what the Japanese game maker can achieve after years of eschewing the thriving mobile-app market. While Nintendo gave a hint of its potential with the success of Pokemon Go earlier this year, that title was only partly its own creation. Super Mario Run was developed mainly by Nintendo, with some assistance from partner DeNA. Expectations have swelled since the Kyoto-based company announced a strategic shift toward embracing mobile in March 2015, adding almost $20 billion to its market value.

The key question is how Super Mario Run will fare compared with Pokemon Go, which amassed more than 500 million downloads and became a major social phenomenon earlier this year. Pokemon Go also made an estimated $600 million in its first three months, according to App Annie, by encouraging users to buy virtual trinkets that help them collect pocket monster characters faster.

“There’s likely some lag introduced in revenue by the fact that users don’t feel the same impetus to monetize quite as quickly as with Pokemon Go,” SensorTower’s Nelson said. “I expect that it will soon hit top grossing in more countries.”

Atul Goyal at Jefferies Group sees 500 million downloads by the end of March, with 10 percent of users paying for the full version. “As the market is able to better understand the importance of these strategic moves, the earnings estimates will move up over time,” he wrote in a report.

Yet amid the euphoria, some are already discovering holes in execution. Macquarie Securities analyst David Gibson finds it puzzling that the game requires an internet connection and worries that the $10 price tag for the full version might be too aggressive, especially for users in developing countries.

“Nostalgic Nintendo players will almost certainly spend,” said Gibson, who is estimating about 200 million downloads by the end of March, with a 10th of users paying $10 for the full version. “But what matters is if the marginal customer says this is good, yeah, I’ll spend the money.”

For now, the initial list of places where Super Mario Run will be available doesn’t include China, which accounts for a quarter of all app revenues, according to Newzoo. The decision to release the title first on Apple devices also runs the risk of alienating gamers on Android, which runs about two-thirds of the world’s 2.3 billion smartphones, according to the researcher. A version for Google’s smartphone software will be released sometime in 2017, Nintendo said, without specifying a date.

Ayodele Arowosegbe is a content writer, novelist, and a daydreamer

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