Nintendo shares fall after ‘Super Mario Run’ disappoints

“Investors disappointed by early reviews and sales of the smartphone game ‘Super Mario Run’ sold off more Nintendo Co. shares on Monday, with some analysts expressing concern over the game’s payment model,” Takashi Mochizuki reports for The Wall Street Journal. “Nintendo shares closed 7.1% lower in Tokyo Stock Exchange trading on Monday, extending a losing streak to five days, during which the stock has fallen more than 16%.”

“‘Super Mario Run,’ featuring the Kyoto-based company’s most famous game character, was released last week for Apple Inc.’s iPhone and other iOS devices,” Mochizuki reports. “The app, unveiled by Nintendo game creator Shigeru Miyamoto at an Apple event in September, is free to download but requires $9.99 to unlock all the features.”

“Motoi Okamoto, a former Nintendo game director, who said he has already finished the Mario smartphone game, said that it was well thought out but its payment structure wasn’t ideal. Players who see that the game is free to download may get an unpleasant surprise when asked to pay $9.99 after just a few levels, he said,” Mochizuki reports. “‘The game should have either asked players to pay when downloading or given more free content if they were to pursue a free-to-download model,’ he said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The pricing structure for this game has been known for months (free to download with a set price to unlock the rest of the content), so we’re unsure why there’s “surprise” in some quarters over it.

Super Mario Run nets 10 million downloads and $4 million revenue on release day – December 19, 2016
Nintendo’s iOS-only ‘Super Mario Run’ notches three million downloads – December 16, 2016
Nintendo’s iOS-only ‘Super Mario Run’ arrives on Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch – December 15, 2016


  1. Because of a few games that have literally sucked hundreds of $$ from me personally, through in-app adrenalin induced extortion, I and several of my friends, stopped playing until further investigation, assuming (not being so well read as macdn) that this was the first $10 of many to come. The app doesnt even say, $9.99 to unlock the whole game and 20 levels and 30 bosses and LOADS of FUN! – bad bad bad payment design.

    1. Actually this seems like the ideal payment model for a consumer. Conceptually, anyway, not saying Nintendo did it right.

      Download, try it out for awhile, then pay full price *once* to get all content. A good balance between paying upfront without knowing if you’ll like it at all, and trying it without restriction and sending money if you feel like it. No ongoing subscription, no in-game currencies that you have to buy real-world to get far fast. That’s how I envisioned it working when Apple started allowing in-app purchases, but sadly the marketing departments for most app makers had different ideas.

      Where Nintendo fell off was, as you noted, poor messaging to explain it was single unlock, with no future costs (for now, anyway…)

    2. At least Nintendo stepped up with a reasonable fixed price for an iOS game. I have never and will never spend any money on freemium games. Not only is the gameplay crippled to push people to spend money, but the amounts of money are ridiculous and never lead to any sort of ending. Say you buy that “colossal bags of gems” for $99.99 (already twice the price of a full computer or console game), but that bag will likely be empty in a few days or weeks, leaving you with many levels left to go and pressure to spend even more. It never ends.

      If people stop spending money on freemium games then they will go away. I am willing to pay a fair price for a good game, and I am also willing to buy major upgrades or expansion packs from time to time. But I will never reward greedy game developers who have gained a stranglehold on the iOS game market. It is time for a revolution! Vote with your $$ and end the freemium model.

  2. That’s what happens when you start trying to capture customers from Samsung, you end up with scumbags who get angry when they can’t pirate stuff for free. Apple should have let the bottom level customers stay with their garbage they had. If Samsung had decided to ship a phone in 2016 instead of a bomb, maybe the reviews would be better.

    1. C’mon Kate, you can’t be serious. Do you actually enjoy in-app purchases that nickel and dime you at every turn? It’s almost as bad as subscriptions, but perhaps even less predictable.

      Apple and other desktop software used to offer a high quality approach: You try the software for limited time or with limited functionality. Then if you liked it, you paid a handsome price and it unlocked for you to have full functionality, done. Now the games have set in, and subscriptionware is the most expensive plan for the user. Those little monthly fees add up quickly, and they never go away. If Apple cared about its consumers, it would make pricing clear and easily FILTERABLE in the app search function.

    1. I like Mario, but that’s the deal killer for me. It wouldn’t make a bit of difference if the game were free. Still wouldn’t play it.

      But get rid of the always on internet connection and keep the rest of it the way it is, and if I like it I’ll gladly pay the $9.99.

  3. The problem is this: The game is too easy to beat. I know 3 people who bought the game and beat it in one day. It’s not a continuing game, once you win, well, it’s just repeating the same thing. They need either additional levels, harder levels, or something else that will keep people interested. Raking in $4 million for the first day, which is only 400k paid players out of 10 million is not good. They will need to tweak it quick or pull the plug.

  4. The whole introduction to the game is unfortunate and not fun.

    Scrolling to United States of America… Asking to link to some Nintendo account. And then a collection of instructions on how to play the game. There’s no reason to have instructions to tell the user to “hold to jump higher.”

    It just doesn’t present itself as a slick app. So by the time you get to the clunky payment screen it doesn’t seem worth it. Which is too bad, because at this point all the silly clunky design is over.

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