Players can download and play a small portion of the game for free, but will need to fork over $14.99 AUD ($9.99 USD) in order to play all six worlds and experience the game in its entirety.
Reports have the game being on track to hitting 20 million downloads in its first month, but full-sale projections have been slashed, with some analysts predicting only two million of those downloads will be actual purchases.
This has led to a 15 percent fall of Nintendo’s stock price, with investors wary of the game’s earning potential.
Hopes were high that the game could generate similar revenue figures as Pokemon Go, and when downloads were reaching impressive milestones, it seemed destined to do so.
However, not enough people appear to be actually buying the full game, and investors are running scared.
That Nintendo would distance itself from additional downloadable content certainly hasn’t done the company any favours, and now suddenly, less than a week after release, Super Mario Run looks like a shaky investment for gamers.
Speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo says it has no plans for post-release DLC.
It has released some small Christmas-themed aesthetics for the game’s Kingdom building feature, but nothing that really adds much in the way of value or depth to the experience.
In Nintendo’s defence, it never explicitly committed to DLC for Super Mario Run, but considering the company’s recent DLC offerings for its games, and the fact that a mobile game is setting people back at least $10, it seemed a given that more Worlds would be eventually offered up.
Super Mario Run is still destined for an Android release, and we probably shouldn’t expect a cheaper launch price.
But questions have surfaced about the game’s longevity and appeal to a mobile gaming audience. Despite being Nintendo’s first foray onto mobile, it’s inability to translate downloads into sales could force Nintendo to completely rethink its approach to the platform.
It may have wanted to avoid a divided, staggered launch: a popular mobile business model is to release a game’s base mode for free, and then launch additional levels/features at a cost.
Super Mario Run was released more as a demo rather than a free-to-play title: wanting to finish the World Tour mode requires full payment, and you eventually hit a brick wall in other modes if you’re not completing and earning Toad Rally tickets in the campaign.
Nintendo could have released the first 2 or 3 Worlds for free, and then offered additional worlds and features on an incremental pricing scale of, say, $2.99 per World.
At the current rate, only one-in-ten people are buying the game, which stands to be a damning indictment on Nintendo’s planned approach for mobile gaming.
It might be time to rethink and restrategise that approach.