Grab your diary. Turn to 15 December (it’ll be towards the back) and draw a big fat mushroom/green pipe/your best Mario face.
Nintendo has revealed that Super Mario Run – a super slick mobile platformer you can play with one hand revealed during Apple’s major September event – will touch down on iPhones and iPads on Thursday 15 December for £8. You can watch it in action below.
“What?! EIGHT QUID?!”
Yep, and that’s actually a really good thing.
For many years, Nintendo was reluctant to get involved in the mobile gaming marketplace, the logic being that apps don’t always make money, and that if gamers wanted to play Nintendo titles on the move, they could buy the handheld 3DS. Then in 2015, following sluggish profits and woeful sales of the Wii U console, Nintendo finally decided it would give apps a go.
Their first effort was… weird. Really weird. Miitomo wasn’t a ‘game’, but a “communication application that helps friends share fun personal facts and interests”. It wasn’t the retro gaming experience we’d hoped for.
The next piece of Nintendo property in the app space knocked it out of the park: Pokémon GO became something of a mobile phenomena, breaking records for fun. While the game was free, it made monthly revenues of $292 million via in-game purchases – though it’s not been revealed how much Nintendo itself makes from the game.
Part of Pokémon GO’s huge success was its ability to implement in-game purchases without pissing off its central user base: to monetise an app, many games can irritate its players by slowing down game progression or limiting features to those who are willing to pay regular lumps of cash.
By offering the full Super Mario Run game to players for £8, Nintendo is being very shrewd. You’ll be able to play the core experience of the game (making Mario jump over obstacles, collect coins and set a high score) for free, allowing those with a passing interest in playing a Mario platformer on their phone to dip in for fun.
If you find you love it, Nintendo is then offering you the full experience for a one off lump of £8 – much more than you’d spend on your average app, but Nintendo is promising to take apps seriously. This will be a proper game, with proper achievements and – should enough people sign up (they will) – a proper community to play against. These two options of free-but-limited and one-off-payment is the best way of making everyone happy, and not constantly bombarding you with payment requests.
We’ll be comparing high scores with you come 16 December. You can get more news on the app here.