How Nintendo Is Learning From Super Mario Run

Nintendo’s smartphone game Super Mario Run was a huge hit in terms of downloads, passing 150 million worldwide. However, the company has acknowledged the game has not brought in as much money as it had hoped. In an investor briefing recently, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima acknowledged that Nintendo is “still a newcomer in the smart-devices business,” and added that the company is still deciding what is best when it comes to payment models.

Super Mario Run, for example, is free to start but you need to pay $10 to unlock all the courses. Fire Emblem Heroes and Miitomo, on the other hand, are free and supported by microtransactions.

“Although no single model is clearly superior, we have been able to learn a lot,” Kimishima said. “We want to keep thinking about how consumers would want to pay for content in our future smart-device applications.”

Of the 150 million downloads for Super Mario Run, less than 10 percent of players paid to buy all the courses. Kimishima did not say anything about whether or not this was in line with the company’s expectations. He did mention, however, that while the total number of Fire Emblem Heroes downloads is “less than a tenth” of Super Mario Run, the game has actually brought in more revenue than Super Mario Run.

“The number of downloads of Fire Emblem Heroes is less than a tenth of the number for Super Mario Run, but the total figure that consumers have spent on this title is more than on Super Mario Run,” he explained.

Kimishima stressed that Nintendo sees a “wide variety” of usage from its mobile games among users, including those who spend money on microtransactions. Nintendo’s next big smartphone game is based on Animal Crossing, and you can expect the game’s monetisation systems to reflect what the company has learned from its past games.

We are planning to release an application using the characters from Animal Crossing,” Kimishima said. “The composition and size of the target audience varies based on the IP characters and game content, so we want to take what we have learned and consider all of these elements to provide a smart-device application that consumers will want to play for a long time.”

For more on Nintendo’s latest investor briefing, check out the stories below:

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