Super Mario Run: 40 million downloads, not many converted to purchases. Nintendo explains why it decided on $10 pricing

A couple of days ago, we heard that, despite being downloaded quite a lot, Super Mario Run is getting a lot of negative reviews and consumer backlash, which, in turn, caused Nintendo's stocks to drop by 11%. Today, we have some actual numbers on how many people decided to spend the rather steep $10 on Mario's first mobile game, and a rather curious explanation by Nintendo on why it chose that price.

So, Super Mario Run was downloaded more than 25 million times (Update: Nintendo's officially announced number is now 40 million!) just four days after release — that's something! As you probably know, you can get the game for free and play the first 3 levels. After that — it's time to pay a one-time $10 fee to get the full experience. This seems to strike the wrong note with users, as according to data from analyst agency Sensor Tower, only 8% of downloads are later converted into full game purchases. The report says the game has earned around $21 million on the App Store — still not a bad number.

There are two main reasons why so many turn away from Super Mario Run — there are those who are irked by the fact that Nintendo insists you are always online when playing the game due to some crazy-elaborate anti-piracy DRM, and, of course, those who refuse to pay $10 for an auto-runner, tap-to-jump game, no matter if it has an Italian plumber as the protagonist.

Nintendo didn't ignore the pricing criticisms — a spokesman actually addressed it in front of Reuters and explained the exact reason why the company decided to go with a steeper price tag. Though we can't say the explanation provides any satisfaction — according to the quote, the rather steep price point was chosen to "reassure parents" that there will be no more in-app purchases later in the game, and that their child wouldn't accidentally click on any of those.


Yeah, it would've been perfectly fine to write that reassurance out with bold letters on the purchase screen and not expect parents to assume it just from the $10 price-tag, Nintendo.

There could be an argument here to defend the pricing, sure — it's a polished game that obviously had a lot of thought and work thrown in. It feels great to play and the aesthetic is a top-notch mix between nostalgic vibes and modern gaming.

But, just as an example, consider this — XCOM cost $13 at launch and it's a fully-functional tactical strategy game with tons of gameplay packed in it, a full campaign, lots of replayability, and an actual multiplayer mode. Console-grade arcade games like Transistor cost $10 at launch, with their own story and long campaigns. Super Mario Run is an auto-runner that features Mario.

In any case, Nintendo isn't really interested in taking the mobile gaming world by storm — it just wants to make its signature characters and mascots more accessible to the general public, create a buzz around its games, and then figure out a way to connect its mobile titles with its console titles, enticing gamers to invest in its ecosystem. So, for now, any kind of publicity is good, even if it's based on bad reviews, analysts say.

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source: Reuters



1. windowsRocks

Posts: 155; Member since: Oct 28, 2011

Hopefully they will have such restrictions when the game is out for Android because Android users are not used to it unlike iOS users.

2. windowsRocks

Posts: 155; Member since: Oct 28, 2011

will not*

3. SpookySager

Posts: 5; Member since: Sep 21, 2016

I'm not a big gamer; however, it's frustrating to see Nintendo release a "runner" instead of a more full featured game. There are other console quality/style games out there (wish there were more) for mobile and it just seems like Nintendo is missing a huge opportunity here. However unlikely this is, I would love to see Nintendo create "full" games on the mobile platforms for what I consider their three big titles (Mario, Zelda, Metroid). I will not be purchasing Super Mario Run, but if Nintendo would release a full Mario, Zelda, or Metroid on a yearly or every two year cyle, I would gladly purchase each title for $10 - $30 (depending on quality) each release. Mobile devices are pretty powerful now and I want to see more game studios take advantage of this (Yes this is difficult because of the app store economy, but hopefully this will change at some point).

5. KParks23

Posts: 746; Member since: Oct 13, 2010

I don't have a problem with a runner I thought the game was decent. My problem is with the 10$ price pretty stupid..

7. krystian

Posts: 423; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

It's this whole idea that you only really whip out your mobile phone to play during times when you have a quick amount of time to do something. But honestly those who want to game will whip it out when they want to game. I can play a PC game on the big screen or I could just decide to play a different game on the mobile phone. The whole endless runner thing has been done. Adding different assets/graphics doesn't change the game mechanics. It's all the same after so many thousands and thousands of games that have come before it. People expect unique gaming experiencing from a big company like Nintendo. Console games sell more than big budget movies yet everyone is stuck in this endless runner mindset. Use technology to create better analog screen controls.

9. SpookySager

Posts: 5; Member since: Sep 21, 2016

Yep. Also, mobile devices, which includes tablets and to an extent TV boxes (ex. Apple TV, nVidia Shield, etc), support external game controllers. While they may not be as powerful as today's dedicated console boxes, they are making great progress and in some ways getting pretty close.

4. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

I can pay $20 if the gameplay are of the likes of FF7 or FF9 or Dragon Quest or Ocarina of Time or Metroid. $10 is such a knock off considering its an endless runner game. You can buy a full fledged Mario 3DS game for $15 and the fun it contains is 100x more better!

8. 0kax0el0

Posts: 238; Member since: Nov 15, 2012

It's not an endless runner, but $10 is a little high for a game so small and with no future.

6. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"there are those who are irked by the fact that Nintendo insists you are always online when playing the game due to some crazy-elaborate anti-piracy DRM" To be always online when playing the game is a deal-breaker for me, as it isn't a game like FIFA 17 where one can compete against other people online. It's just an endless runner game, nothing that exciting to warrant $10.

10. Justinf223

Posts: 14; Member since: Nov 03, 2016

Terraria is $6.99 and offers way more content.

11. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

if my kid didn't ask me to buy it, after I played the first 3 boards; I knew I didn't like it. But we both like Mario and we were goign to play it together. he hasn't played it since clearing the first castle and another ave I. I've waste more than $10.00 on other things. Hwoever, if they are goign to add something, stop limiting it. My kids iPad doesn't have cellular like mine. So he can't even play unless on WiFi, which is another reason he doesn't play; because I limit his WiFi usage. I'm so glad the vast majority of the downloads, people didn't buy it. That way neither company gets a frikkin dime.

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