Nintendo’s expertise in the mobile gaming market has never been questioned -- in fact, they are the ones who popularized it, from the early days of Game & Watch to the Nintendo Game Boy, and its subsequent evolution to the modern day Nintendo 3DS. Having said that, there is one segment of the mobile gaming market that Nintendo had not touched until now -- smartphone games. Super Mario Run has officially launched on the iPhone today in the App Store, and there will be an Android-powered version that is set to follow suit in due time.
Super Mario Run is expected to bring everything that you have come to know and love about the platformer to the iOS-powered iPhone. The thing about platformers is, they tend to be more “playable” when you make use of hardware controllers. Somehow or rather, the use of a touchscreen to control your on-screen avatar does not quite cut the mustard. The release of Super Mario Run will also take a slightly different route compared to that of traditional video games, taking into consideration how Super Mario Run will be a paid title.
Yes, while Super Mario Run is released across 151 countries around the world for the iPhone, this maiden attempt at smartphone gaming by Nintendo will cost a rather hefty $9.99 to download. This is in stark contrast to many other smartphone games that cost a dollar or two, while others take the freemium route -- being free to download and install, but you can only go so far in the game before you end up frustrated at the lack of progress simply because you do not have enough in-game credits to upgrade your character, and these in-game credits can only be bought using real world money.
Will the hype of it all translate to a commercial smartphone gaming success? Only time will be able to tell, but knowing Nintendo and their track record, they should be able to emerge smelling more like roses from the situation. After all, Nintendo is well known for rolling out quality first party titles until today, and their games are normally very well thought out.
Super Mario Run will weigh in at 204MB, so you would do well in order to download it va a Wi-Fi connection lest you use up your precious data quota unwittingly. Nintendo has already basked in the glory of a hit smartphone game title earlier this year with Niantic Labs’ Pokemon GO, having seen more than 600 million downloads since July this year. Now that is a whole lot of downloads, and while I believe Super Mario Run will no doubt be a commercial success, to see it have the kind of mass appeal that Pokemon GO has is not going to happen.
Assuming this particular “experiment” by Nintendo actually results in an unprecedented level of success even by their own lofty standards, it will be interesting to see how their traditional rival, Sony, will react. From what we know, Sony too, wants a slice of the mobile gaming pie, with a recent announcement that they will be introducing PlayStation Games for smartphones, while rolling out up to half a dozen mobile games in the coming business year.