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Super Mario Run Didn't Make The Money Nintendo Hoped For

Mario's first mobile game falls short.


Nintendo's president says revenue from Super Mario Run was lower than expected, but he insists pay-to-play mobile games are here to stay at the gaming giant.

In an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review, Tatsumi Kimishima said the mobile game's earnings "did not meet our expectations."

Super Mario Run, the first mobile game to feature Nintendo's star character, is free to download, but only a limited amount of content is free-to-play. To unlock the full game, players must pay US $10 / £10 / AU $15. By the end of January, the game hit a whopping 78 million downloads on iOS only, but only 5% of players had purchased the full game.

The game made its Android debut this week alongside the release of a major update for the iOS version. In version 2.0.0, Nintendo has expanded the free-to-play content in the game, which is included in the Android release.

While Super Mario Run has gotten more free content, it is another Nintendo game that is the company's smartphone "cash cow," according to Nikkei Asian Review. Fire Emblem Heroes, a more traditional free-to-play game, has been wildly successful in sales. Despite that, Nintendo insists pay-to-play is the preferred business model.

"Heroes is an outlier. We honestly prefer the Super Mario Run model," a senior company official told Nikkei.

In 2015, Nintendo announced an ambitious plan to break into mobile games. It has released two games so far, Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes. Animal Crossing, originally supposed to be released last year, is now delayed with a release sometime in the next fiscal year. Nintendo now says it plans to release 2-3 mobile games a year.

For more on Super Mario Run check out GameSpot's review.

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