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Nintendo: Super Mario Run ‘didn’t meet expectations’

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But the company’s not going freemium yet

Nintendo

Sales from Super Mario Run failed to meet Nintendo’s expectations, company president Tatsumi Kimishima said in a new interview with Nikkei.

Speaking to the Asian business publication, Kimishima and other Nintendo officials revealed that the Mario mobile game, though profitable, didn’t hit sales targets.

Super Mario Run enjoyed some big, early success when it exclusively hit iOS devices in December. But the game’s pay-to-play model (and online requirements) may have turned off many consumers, and the overall reception was mixed.

Super Mario Run only lets players try out the first world before hitting the $9.99 paywall. Despite all the downloads, only five percent of players paid up, Nintendo revealed in January.

But Nintendo sounds committed to selling mobile games to fans at a cost that, to some, may be high for the platform. Although Fire Emblem Heroes launched for free on Android and iOS in February and, according to Nikkei, enjoyed popularity on its debut, a company official says the gacha-style game — which encourages players to spend money for new, randomized content — is a one-off.

"Heroes is an outlier," the Nintendo employee told the publication. "We honestly prefer the Super Mario Run model."

That premium-priced model continues to be tweaked since the game released; it just hit Android earlier this week, and an update that came to both iOS and Android added additional levels for players to check out for free.

Next up on the docket is an Animal Crossing-themed mobile game, which Nintendo has revealed few details for since first announcing it last spring.