Being Nintendo‘s first mobile title, there was plenty of anticipation surrounding Super Mario Run. That anticipation and excitement certainly manifested itself in the number of downloads the game has seen since its initial December 2016 release, but according to Nintendo, the game did not make as much money as the company had hoped it would at this point.
The information comes via Nintendo’s recent earnings report, which revealed that Super Mario Run has been downloaded 200 million times, with 90 percent of those downloads coming outside of Japan. That latter figure is important to Nintendo because the game exposed Mario to a slew of markets where the character previously had no presence, which might have helped boost sales of the recently-released Super Mario Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch.
Just as important of a figure for the company is how much money Super Mario Run made. Even though the game was downloaded 200 million times, Nintendo said that the game has “not yet reached an acceptable profit point.” That has not been the case for Fire Emblem Heroes, which has been a more profitable game for Nintendo with one-tenth the number of downloads as Super Mario Run.
As for why this is, the blame might be on cost. Even though both mobile games are available as free downloads, Super Mario Run forces you to cough up $9.99 to unlock the full game. By comparison, Fire Emblem Heroes utilizes a free-to-play system with optional in-app purchases.
In other words, Super Mario Run features a relatively higher cost of entry and not nearly as many ways to charge folks for other bits and bobs. Even ignoring those pieces, Super Mario Run seems to have received a more lukewarm reception than Fire Emblem Heroes did, possibly because of the mechanics of the former versus the latter.
Whatever the reason, Nintendo still holds high hopes for Super Mario Run:
Our aim is for this application to be the definitive Mario application for smart devices. We have learned a lot in terms of game development and deployment that we want to take advantage of moving forward.
The company also plans to release more updates and improvements for the mobile title, so it certainly sounds like Nintendo does not plan to shift away from Super Mario Run anytime soon.