Nintendo Says Super Mario Run Has Yet to Reach ‘Acceptable Profit Point’ Nearly One Year After Launch

Nintendo yesterday held its quarterly earnings report [PDF], launching off with details of its "Smart-Device Business" and telling investors how things have been going for Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes, while detailing the upcoming launch of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. Although Fire Emblem Heroes is on track to meet the company's "overall profit objectives," Super Mario Run appears to be a disappointment in the iOS App Store for Nintendo, which stated it has "not yet reached an acceptable profit point" for the game (via The Verge).

The difference between the two apps lies in their payment structure, with Fire Emblem Heroes a free-to-download title with micro-transactions, and Super Mario Run priced at a fixed $9.99. The company noted that Super Mario Run has now hit the 200 million download mark, and Nintendo was even able to launch the app in countries "not previously reached by our dedicated video game platform business."


Unfortunately, after about 10 months on mobile devices Super Mario Run still has not made the amount of money that Nintendo predicted for the title, which was its first foray into a mobile app built around one-time payments. Still, the company said that it has "learned a lot in terms of game development and deployment," which it plans to "take advantage of moving forward."
Although we have not yet reached an acceptable profit point, we have learned a lot in terms of game development and deployment that we want to take advantage of moving forward.
For Fire Emblem Heroes, Nintendo said that it "listened to the voices of our consumers," leading to continual updates to the app since its launch in February. This game is on track to meet Nintendo's business and profit objectives, and new in-game events will be added soon, as well as Traditional Chinese text. The game will then expand to five more countries and regions: Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao, Thailand, and Singapore.

Nintendo's newest iOS game Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp will follow in the footsteps of Fire Emblem Heroes, bringing in-app purchases to the free-to-download game in the form of Leaf Tickets. For the mobile version of Animal Crossing, Nintendo said that "our objective is to offer a service that allows even consumers who do not normally play games on a regular basis to have a little fun each and every day."

Nintendo's first iPhone game, Miitomo, also uses a free-to-download payment structure with in-app purchases, but the company made no mention of that game in its newest earnings report.

Earlier in the year, a senior official at Nintendo reportedly told Nikkei that the company prefers the pay-once strategy of Super Mario Run, and called the freemium aspects of Fire Emblem Heroes an "outlier" in the grand scheme of its mobile gaming plan. Even then, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima -- who presented this week's earnings report -- admitted that Super Mario Run "did not meet" the company's revenue expectations.

To entice old players to return and new players to download, Nintendo updated Super Mario Run in September with a new mode, new characters, and a 50 percent price drop. Nintendo's earnings report charts are vague, but the company noted an uptick in weekly users thanks to this September update. Prior to that, its weekly users had been dropping precipitously since April.

Ultimately, Nintendo still aims for Super Mario Run to be the "definitive Mario application for smart devices," so players can likely expect ongoing updates to the app in the future.


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Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Tops Australian iOS App Store Faster Than Super Mario Run

Nintendo's newly-announced iOS game, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, has soft launched in the Australian iOS App Store, a launch rollout that Nintendo has begun to favor as a way to test its iOS apps prior to a worldwide debut. According to new data gathered by Sensor Tower, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp climbed to the top of the Australian App Store much faster than either Super Mario Run or Fire Emblem Heroes.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp debuted quite high among all iPhone apps on the Australian App Store, hitting around number 2 within the first hour of its soft launch on October 25. Afterwards, the new game reached the number 1 spot on the Australian App Store within 12 hours of its debut. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is Nintendo's fourth smartphone game made in partnership with developer DeNA, following Miitomo, Super Mario Run, and Fire Emblem Heroes.

Chart via Sensor Tower
Hourly App Store category rankings from Sensor Tower App Intelligence show Nintendo’s third mobile game, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, off to a strong start in its Australian soft launch on iOS. According to the data, the game reached No. 1 among all iPhone apps faster than Nintendo’s previous mobile releases, Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes, hitting the impressive milestone within 12 hours of its launch on October 25.
Comparatively, Super Mario Run debuted just below the number 40 ranking. It then hit number 2 after 12 hours on the App Store in Australia, and finally obtained the number 1 spot 14 hours after its soft launch in the country last December.

Fire Emblem Heroes was ranked at number 35 at the 12 hour mark of its respective Australian soft launch earlier this year, and only made it as high as number 13 among all iPhone apps. Fire Emblem isn't quite as well-known a franchise as Mario or Animal Crossing, leading to low download rates on launch day in the United States.


Sensor Tower also reported that Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is currently ranked at number 117 among the top grossing iPhone apps in Australia. The game uses "Leaf Tickets" as its form of in-app purchase, allowing players to circumvent certain lengthy wait times for item and furniture building, supplement tickets for crafting materials, add in exclusive animals to their town like Tom Nook and K.K. Slider, and more.

Next, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is set to launch worldwide in late November, although Nintendo hasn't yet confirmed a release date. You can pre-register to be notified as soon as the game hits the App Store in your supported country on Nintendo's website right here.


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Super Mario Run’s ‘Biggest Update Ever’ Arrives on the iOS App Store One Day Early

Super Mario Run's "biggest update ever" has arrived one day early, with many players noticing the version 3.0.4 update is available to download as of this morning. One of the biggest new additions is "Remix 10," which lets players run through 10 super-short courses in a row to try to find and add Daisy -- the new playable character -- to their roster.


There's also new full-size courses in the game, inhabiting "World Star," including a forest, a ship, and an airship armada. New customization items can be earned from playing Remix 10, and the game has been tweaked so that Toad Rally won't pit you against players whose Toad population is "significantly different" from your own.

Nintendo has also added a subtle visual detail, giving Mario and his playable friends a pair of headphones any time you listen to your own music while playing the game. With the new update, Super Mario Run [Direct Link] is 50 percent off its full price of $9.99 from today until October 12, meaning you can unlock all six worlds for $4.99.

The game is still free-to-start and lets you play the first world for free, with the in-app purchase unlocking the rest of the game's content. If you're looking for more iOS apps and games on sale, be sure to check out our Deals Roundup where we've listed some of the latest discounts happening now on the App Store.


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Super Mario Run to Get ‘Biggest Update Ever’ and 50% Price Drop on Friday

Super Mario Run will receive its "biggest update ever" later this week, according to a sneak peek shared on the App Store this weekend.


A new gameplay mode called Remix 10 will include a set of 10 super-short sections from Super Mario Run's existing levels in quick succession. The stages are remixed with each attempt, with rainbow-colored bonus medals throughout.
Remix 10 has no Game Over screen, and even if you fail to complete a level, you'll just proceed to the next one without any penalty. This means new players can familiarize themselves with a variety of different levels easily and experts can attempt to collect every bonus medal for a perfect rating.
Finishing stages and collecting medals in Remix 10 mode gives players the chance to collect new items to decorate their Mushroom Kingdom, and eventually rescue the newly added character Princess Daisy.

Once rescued, Princess Daisy can be used as a playable character in all of Super Mario Run's other gameplay modes.
Daisy's special ability is to perform a double jump, opening up a brand new way to beat the stages you find trickiest, collect the coveted black coins, or race against other players in Toad Rally.
Super Mario Run will gain a brand new world called World Star, which has nine new levels that are unlocked once players have finished all of the existing stages in the six worlds of the World Tour.
These new levels are filled with new enemies, gameplay mechanics, and of course include pink, purple, and black coin-collecting challenges. Nintendo is promising surprises for even the most seasoned Super Mario Run players in this one.
The update will also allow Super Mario Run to be played while listening to any music in the background, rather than the game soundtrack only.

The update will be available on the App Store [Direct Link] on Friday, September 29, and on the same day, the $9.99 in-app purchase that unlocks the full game will be offered at "around 50% off" for a limited time.

About the Game


Super Mario Run is a runner designed for one-handed gameplay. Mario runs forward automatically as players tap to jump, collect coins, pounce on Goombas, avoid obstacles, and reach the flagpole at the end of each course before the timer runs out. In the end, Mario must rescue Princess Peach from the infamous Bowser.

(Thanks, Jesse L.!)


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‘Super Mario Run’ 2.1 Update Adds New Buildings and Game Center Achievements

Super Mario Run received a point one update late on Monday, bringing some additional enticements for newcomers and offering long-time fans new reasons to continue playing the game.

Probably the biggest upgrade to the runner is the addition of several new buildings up for collection. These include the 8-bit Bowser Statue, Bullet Bill Statue, Bob-omb, and many more.


Elsewhere, players can now use their Miitomo character as their player icon, Game Center achievements have been implemented, and it's now possible to find friends from a linked Nintendo account.

In addition, the maximum number of Toads that can live in a player's kingdom has been increased to 99,999, providing plenty of reasons for gamers to keeping on running.

Super Mario Run is a free download, with a $9.99 in-app purchas to unlock the full content, available for iPhone and iPad on the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Nintendo Prefers Super Mario Run Pay-Once Model, Calls Freemium Structure of Fire Emblem Heroes an ‘Outlier’

As Nintendo keeps launching new properties onto smartphones, the company has taken different strategies in regards to each app's payment model, including free-to-play (Miitomo, Fire Emblem Heroes) and pay-once-and-play (Super Mario Run). According to a senior official at the company, Nintendo actually "prefers" the Super Mario Run model over Fire Emblem Heroes, despite the more lucrative future that Fire Emblem Heroes' in-app purchases have in store for Nintendo (via Nikkei).

According to Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima, Super Mario Run's revenue "did not meet" the company's expectations. Ahead of the game's release, it was reported that Nintendo was eyeing a pay-once model so that parents could download Super Mario Run for their kids without the added anxiety of in-app purchases appearing later in their iTunes purchase history.


It appears that the gaming company still intends for most of its future apps to follow in Super Mario Run's footsteps and not those of Fire Emblem Heroes, with a senior company official referring to Heroes as "an outlier" in the grand scheme of Nintendo's mobile strategy.
Yet [Super Mario Run] was less of a moneymaker for Nintendo than might have been expected, due to the pay-once-and-play model. Revenue from the game "did not meet our expectations," Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima said.

Even so, Nintendo has no intention of switching focus to freemium games. "'Heroes' is an outlier," a senior company official said. "We honestly prefer the 'Super Mario Run' model."
The company is believed to care more about expanding the reach of its intellectual properties to a wider audience and "aims to do more with its smartphone games than make money." Another goal for Nintendo is to mine the potential synergy future apps could have with the new Switch console, where players pick up the app to get hooked, and are convinced to further explore -- and spend more money -- on a larger version of the game.

According to Nikkei, the long-term success of Super Mario Run will be measured in how well it turns new Nintendo fans into console players and buyers: "The game's true value will be measured by how much it expands the ranks of Nintendo fans and helps sales of the Switch."

Last year, Isao Moriyasu -- Chief Executive of DeNA, Nintendo's mobile app developer partner -- said that the next two Nintendo apps would be "free-to-start apps," referring to Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing, which was recently delayed. Super Mario Run is technically free-to-start as well, allowing players to mess around with a few story levels and modes before asking for the monetary investment to unlock the full game. This week, that free section was expanded slightly in the game's version 2.0 update.

Players can purchase game-boosting "Orbs" in Fire Emblem Heroes

In terms of payment models, the distinction between Fire Emblem Heroes and Super Mario Run is clear, and it appears that Nintendo intends to keep focused on higher-priced gaming apps instead of the more popular freemium model. Looking towards the future, we still only know that Animal Crossing is set to appear next on mobile devices, likely sometime later this year. Unfortunately, today's news muddies the waters regarding that game's payment strategy, since it's now unclear whether it will lean towards Fire Emblem Heroes' freemium model, as Moriyasu said, or be part of Nintendo's preference for a pay-once option.

Super Mario Run launched in December and saw massive launch day download numbers, but the app has since dwindled down the Top Grossing charts for the Games section of the iOS App Store, amid users raising uncertainties over its $9.99 price tag and always-online requirements. At the time of writing, Super Mario Run is the 117th game on the Top Grossing Games list, while Fire Emblem Heroes sits at the 48th spot.


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Nintendo’s ‘Super Mario Run’ for iOS Updated With New Characters, Easy Mode and More Free Content

Nintendo today released version 2.0 of Super Mario Run, its popular Mario-themed platform game for iOS devices. Today's update adds a host of new features, including new playable characters, an easy mode, additional free content, and more.

Starting today, players can get different colored Yoshis in Super Mario Run. Using a Yoshi of a particular color to play Toad Rally will result in more Toads of that color when a rally is won.


For customers who have not purchased the full Super Mario Run game, Nintendo is adding more free content, in the form of Bowser's Challenges. Completing one of Bowser's challenges will unlock the previous locked 1-4 course. Clearing 1-4 will then unlock new courses to play in Toad Rally, new Toad colors, and new Shop buildings.

For tough challenges and for players who aren't as skilled, an Easy Mode has been added to the game that can be selected when using World Tour mode. This will make the basic Mario levels easier to complete.

Nintendo has also made adjustments to the tutorial to make it easier to understand special actions, pink coins, and more, and there have also been tweaks to the number of Rally Tickets received from the ? Block and it's now easier to get some of the buildings in the shop.

For Toad Rally, the appearance rates of various Toads have been adjusted, making it easier to get Toads to purchase buildings.

In the future, Nintendo also plans to add additional buildings that will be unlocked by an event.

Super Mario Run can be downloaded from the App Store for free, but it will cost $9.99 to unlock the full game. [Direct Link]


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Super Mario Run Updated With ‘Easy Mode’, Has Made $53M Over 78M Downloads So Far

Nintendo today rolled out an update to Super Mario Run that includes a collection of feature additions and bug fixes, along with a new "Easy Mode." The relaxed mode turns off time limits for each course and provides players with unlimited bubbles, so they can take as long as they want to complete a course and die as many times as needed to get past tricky sections.

The update comes the same day as Nintendo's third-quarter earnings call, where the company announced that Super Mario Run has been downloaded 78 million times globally since its release in December (via The Wall Street Journal). Although unspecified, Nintendo said that "more than 5 percent" of those users have gone on to pay the full $10 price tag required to unlock all of the content in the game, resulting in more than $53 million in revenue so far.

super-mario-run-ios
“For a game that charges this much, the performance is pretty amazing,” said Serkan Toto, a Tokyo-based mobile game consultant. He said even games that charge only a dollar or two for in-game items usually convert fewer than 5% of downloaders into paying customers.
Today's update to Super Mario Run also includes compatibility with Korean, new events, an adjustment to how many toads are lost and gained in Toad Rally, and more. A few days after the game launched last month, Nintendo began surveying some customers and asking their opinions on how much the game should cost, what modes they liked, and if they would play a sequel, suggesting that the company is willing to take constructive criticism regarding the largely negative feedback to the game's pay structure and tweak it for a potential Super Mario Run 2.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, some gamers remain satisfied with Nintendo's decision to lock most of the game's content behind a $10 pay wall.
However, some users said they liked the idea of paying $10 to unlock all the game functions, rather than paying $1 or $2 for some functions and constantly being pestered to spend more.

“It made me feel safe to download,” said Taku Ojima, a 24-year-old game fan who lives in Miyagi prefecture north of Tokyo, who said he hasn’t paid for extra functions on other free-to-download games.
Also taking place during its earnings call today, Nintendo confirmed that Animal Crossing for iOS would in fact not be launching before March 2017 as originally planned, and would be delayed until the following fiscal year. This means that players could see the game launch as early as April 2017, or as late as March 2018. On the bright side, Fire Emblem Heroes launches this Thursday, February 2.

Super Mario Run can be downloaded from the iOS App Store for free before requiring the $9.99 price if players are interested in unlocking every level in the game. [Direct Link]


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‘Super Mario Run’ Survey Asks Players How Much Game Should Cost, If They Would Play Sequel

super-mario-run-icon-1Nintendo recently began sending email surveys to a few Super Mario Run players who linked the iOS game with their My Nintendo account, MacRumors has learned.

The 10-minute long survey asks basic questions pertaining to how users found out about the game, what modes they liked, and how much they are willing to pay for a game like Super Mario Run. The survey fluctuates between multiple choice and written answers.

The survey's construction and questions are similar to the ones Nintendo used to give out to Club Nintendo users so they could receive points to spend on exclusive merchandise from the company. Now, it appears Nintendo is aiming to discover for itself what players think of Super Mario Run, following a week of press that mostly centered around the opinion that $9.99 is too high a price for the amount of content presented within the game.

super-mario-run-survey-1
With the new survey, players can now give Nintendo their own thoughts on the matter. One of the questions even asks if users would play a sequel to Super Mario Run "if one was released in the future." As of now, Nintendo is supposed to be gearing up to announce more information on the launch of Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem for iOS, both said to debut before March 2017 if the company's original plan from 2015 remains intact.

super-mario-run-survey-2
The negative reactions to the pricing structure and online requirements of Super Mario Run have gone so far as to cause Nintendo's stock to lower earlier this week, with players rating the game a 2.5/5 on average on the App Store. Although news has been scarce, in May it was reported that Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem would adopt the free-to-play model, with users able to purchase in-game items and boosts of some kind after downloading at no cost.

Miitomo -- Nintendo's first true iOS game -- was free-to-play, but the user base slacked off precipitously after launch, with data suggesting "users didn't really get" the game and its basic, social network inspired gameplay loop.

Super Mario Run [Direct Link] got its first update this week, introducing a new "Friendly Run" mode where players can compete against ghosts of friends and family members, with the caveat that no coins or Toads can be collected during each run. There's also a few new holiday-themed items in the Kingdom Builder shop.

(Thanks, Dan!)


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Super Mario Run Reaches 25 Million Downloads as Nintendo Pushes Out New Game Mode

Popular iOS game Super Mario Run set a new download record yesterday, following its release last week on Thursday, December 15. According to app analyst Sensor Tower, the game hit 25 million downloads in just four days, which is faster than Pokémon Go, which took 11 days to reach the same number, although that game's initial launch was limited in terms of available territories.

SensorTower's current estimate puts paid users at approximately 2.1 million worldwide. By comparison, the paid game Lara Croft Go, launched in August 2015, has been downloaded approximately 280,000 times worldwide on the App Store since release.

super-mario-run-25-million-downloads
Image via SensorTower

"It can't be understated, however, that the vast majority of early Super Mario Run downloaders clearly find the full game pricing prohibitive, and we can only image how much better the conversion rate could be at $2.99 or even $4.99," said SensorTower in a blog post.

Nintendo investors have so far expressed disappointment with Super Mario Run, causing share prices in the company to lose 11 percent since its release. The declines stem from negative user reviews of the game on the iOS App Store, where it is currently rated 2.5 stars out of 5 based on 4,919 reviews. This has led to concerns over the game's one-time payment model, which eschews the typical model of paying various small amounts for select in-game features.
"Mario is arguably the most popular gaming franchise in the world, yet we see only about 8 percent of those who try the game actually purchasing it," Sensor Tower analyst Spencer Gabriel told Reuters.

"I don't think this is a statement on the game's quality ... but rather the perceived value when compared to free-to-play games that offer much more content with optional microtransactions that enable players to experience it sooner."
In spite of reports that Nintendo won't be adding extra features to Super Mario Run, the company today rolled out an update to its first iOS title that adds a new gameplay mode allowing users to compete with friends without paying any Rally Tickets.

Dubbed "Friendly Run", the new mode can be played up to three times daily for gamers who paid $10 for the full content and have cleared World 1, while those who have cleared World 2 get five Friendly Runs per day. Players of the trial version can also get in on the action as long as they have some friends added in the game, but the mode can only be played once a day until the in-app purchase is made.

As noted by MacRumors sister site TouchArcade, with no coins being earned and no Toads or enemy level-ups up for grabs, the new mode is essentially just a practice mode, but it does offer a new way to compete with friends, which should add longevity to the game.

Super Mario Run is available to download for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. [Direct Link]


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