In hindsight, it was always going to end up this way. Slapping a $9.99 in-app purchase to unlock a 24-level one-thumb platform game – no matter which popular character is leading it – was never going to wash.
Both Nintendo, and its partner in Super Mario Run development DeNA, have seen their shares decline the weekend following the release of the Italian Plumber’s first outing on iOS.
The game itself does a decent job of bringing the popular franchise to life on mobile, and it’s certainly fun to play. However, the game has been left with just 2.5 stars on the App Store after 54,000 user reviews were left. The reviews appear split – many praising the games usability – but many also focus on the $10 to unlock approach. iOS users simply aren’t used to spending so much on a mobile game.
Users get the first three levels for free, with the remaining 21, plus the Toad Rally (which adds a competitive element with other players,) and Kingdom building modes locked behind the paywall.
As a result of the negative reviews, Nintendo’s stock has fallen 13 percent, while DeNA’s has dropped by 14 percent since the game’s launch on December 15.
Super Mario Run was downloaded an estimated 10 million times, making $4 million on day one. Significant, but in reality only a small percentage unlocked the full game straight away.
Reviewers also expressed concerns that the game always needs internet-access to operate.
Nintendo, meanwhile, has said that the higher-price is to give parents more control on IAPs, preventing younger gamers from over-spending. The game has zero micro-transactions.
Super Mario Run can be downloaded for free (to trial the first few levels) on the App Store now. Read our review of the game below: