Nintendo has launched the newest member of the popular Super Mario Bros franchise on the iPhone. Super Mario Run was first announced by Nintendo during an Apple event earlier this year. The game became available for iOS users across 151 countries and regions yesterday. Nintendo has said the game will also be launched on Android but has not said when.
Super Mario Run is the first game for mobile developed by Nintendo, created through a partnership with mobile gaming firm DeNA. Players control Mario through a series of obstacle courses while collecting coins along the way. At higher levels, players can compete with other players’ scores and create their own “kingdom.”
Super Mario Run players who want to access multiplayer functions will need to have a Miitomo character to race against others. Miitomo, the company’s first mobile app, acts as a Nintendo user hub where users can interact with others.
The Mario game is free to download but the free-to-play section is limited to low-level stages. Nintendo is charging users $10 for full access to the mobile game. Its decision to charge for full access to the game may limit revenues, worrying investors. Many popular mobile games only charge for in-game items and power-ups without specific ceilings.
The game is expected to achieve a substantial download rate in its first 30 days. Projections from SensorTower show that Super Mario Run could make Nintendo more than $71 million in revenue within the first month of launching. The wildly popular Pokémon Go brought in roughly $143 million in revenue in its first month of launching. Pokemon GO, which has been downloaded over 600 million times since July, was developed jointly by Google spinoff Niantic and Nintendo affiliate Pokemon Company.
There are now hundreds of thousands of games available on mobile app stores, making it harder for game developers to make large profits. The mobile gaming app market is so big it makes other app categories seem small by comparison. Mobile gaming apps accounted for 20 percent of active apps in Apple’s App Store in March 2016, more than double the second most popular category.
In the United States, 180.4 million consumers will play games on their mobile phones in 2016.
That represents 56 percent of the population and 70 percent of all mobile phone users. Games research firm Newzoo predicts the global mobile gaming segment will reach $52.5 billion in 2019, up from $36.9 billion in 2016.