Although Super Mario Run boasts a player base that’s 10 times larger, Fire Emblem Heroes continues to outperform Mario’s mobile title. Nintendo told press during a financial earnings briefing that Super Mario Run sales continue to be slow, according to Wall Street Journal reporter Takashi Mochizuki.
Between Japan and the U.S., Nintendo made more than 20 billion yen from its smartphone games, Mochizuki tweeted. Yet Super Mario Run, which has been reached almost 150 million downloads, continues to struggle with converting free users into paying ones.
“Nintendo also said a goal of more than 10 percent of total download pay Mario Run not reached yet,” Mochizuki wrote after the release of Nintendo’s fiscal year-end report.
The company has spoken of its difficulties in getting smartphone owners to pony up the one-time fee of $9.99 for Super Mario Run. Nintendo’s extended the free trial period, released new content and tweaked key gameplay elements to encourage attachment, but it appears that the game’s outsized player base just can’t translate into sales.
In March, company president Tatsumi Kimishima said Super Mario Run “didn’t meet expectations” — but reiterated that the company would continue to try its hand at the premium mobile game business model.
On the flip side, the free-to-play Fire Emblem Heroes has performed well. It’s currently sitting in the top 10 highest grossing titles list on the iOS App Store, and Nintendo continues to provide substantial content updates.
There’s an easy explanation for why Fire Emblem Heroes generates more revenue than Super Mario Run, despite attracting one-tenth of its users. Fire Emblem Heroes has microtransactions, a much more common pricing scheme. Although it’s easy to play the game without spending a dime if you don’t care about collecting ‘em all, players who do care about their playable character collections could find themselves paying up.
For what it’s worth, we’ve also found Fire Emblem Heroes to be a superior game to Super Mario Run. We reviewed the mobile role-playing game favorably when it launched in early February; we thought that Super Mario Run, on the other hand, failed to live up to its console companions.