Nintendo Shares Plunge As ‘Super Mario Run’ Fails to Impress



Disappointing early reviews and sales of Nintendo’s latest ‘Super Mario Run’ smartphone game have caused the company’s shares to fall by almost 16% in the past five days, while some analysts are also expressing concern over the game’s payment model, The Wall Street Journal is reporting. Although the company’s stock rose over 20% in the past month, the shares finished down 7.1% today in Tokyo Stock Exchange trading.

“If you were hoping that Mario would perform like Pokémon, then Mario clearly didn’t achieve its mission,” said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute. “But that was placing expectations too high because the Mario game’s business scheme is so different from Pokémon.”

Research company SuperData forecast that the Mario game would generate as much as $15 million in its first month, while “Pokémon Go” and other Pokémon merchandise helped Nintendo boost operating profit by about $100 million in the July-September quarter, when the game was released.

While the game has not yet been released on Android, former Nintendo game director Motoi Okamoto believes poor reviews on the App Store may hurt Mario’s performance on other platforms as well. He added that although the game was well thought out, its payment structure isn’t ideal. Players who see that the game is free to download may get an unpleasant surprise when asked to pay $9.99 after just a few levels. 

Okamoto said that the game should have either asked players to pay when downloading, or given more free content if they were to pursue a free-to-download model. Meanwhile, a Nintendo spokesman has said the company doesn’t plan to release additional content, either free or paid.


  • CMfly

    I would have thought you could at least play an entire world and not just 3 levels and 20 seconds… The teaser you get is not worth $10 to extend. I also don’t really get the toad rally stuff. Seems like you will need to earn tickets or buy them to play against someone’s shadow.. No thanks..

  • Yearoftherat

    So for the price of unlocking this game (13.99CA), I can get 2-3 games that I can buy outright and have the ability to play offline too. $13.99 for an endless runner is not worth it.

  • To be fair, there are effectively 9 levels. If you play them for the three different sets of special coins, progressively harder, there is a lot of (free) content to be had, relatively speaking. And the daily bonus game provides ongoing opportunity to play the race game against others, though that’s more like a teeter totter as you win and lose.

    But yes, payment is a content wall in this game, as opposed to truly free where in-app purchases boost/speed up improvement like other games, such as Game of War which is enormously successful and technically fully free.

    Is “buying a full game” on mobile platforms an obsolete model? Hm.

  • This is the cheapest Mario game I’ve paid for. It makes my iPhone feel like a Nintendo device. The game itself is made well with great graphics and old school tracks. Playing on a touchscreen is hard though, I still get nervous as hell and palms get sweaty hahahah

  • Corey Beazer

    Do you think they will add more levels? If so, I am afraid it’ll be paid upgrades.
    I’d buy this for $13 if it means I get any updates for free.

  • Did you read the article? “…a Nintendo spokesman has said the company doesn’t plan to release additional content, either free or paid.”

  • I had some nostalgic fun with the few free levels. I might buy it in the future. If it was $10 CAD I probably would have gone for it, but $14 CAD for some reason was over my threshold. I don’t think it’s undervalued, but I think iOS games in general are undervalued, so it makes this seem expensive.

  • I hear ya, we are all too used to freemium or $0.99 games. My account is funded with 20% off iTunes cards from Costco, so it eased some of the ‘pain’. I also want Nintendo to release more iOS titles, so I felt it was worth supporting. Game is still fun to play.

  • Corey Beazer

    I think a lot of people (myself included) will cave and buy the full version once we get some iTunes cards for Christmas

  • DP

    I thought the reviews weren’t really fair. I remember (20-25 years ago) playing these types of games for $40-60 per game! $9.99 CAD would have been the right price though – I agree the $13.99 was just over the threshold of what I think most people would drop without too much stress.

    But the game is fun, easy to learn, quick to play a minute or two if u want and go away. Or play longer. Easy to play with one hand. And the five coins to collect each level with increasingly difficulty when u collect all 5 makes the re play value great.

    And it’s classic! I’m in my 30’s and this game did a great job bringing elements of the original into a more modern game appropriate for the iPhone.

  • definingsound

    Honestly, this app is cheaper than pretty much anything I can get for my Nintendo 3DS.

    Successful app payment models seem to involve letting players get everything, as long as they log in every single day to play, and grind grind grind. The payments allow people to avoid the grind, by spending within the app, many times over.

    Nintendo’s app for $13.99 is merely the cost of a single “special package deal” in Clash Royale – something I am offered weekly in that game. Yet Mario Runners rail against the fee; I imagine they’d somehow be happier spending 80+ hours grinding to get the content for free.

    Nintendo is going to take heat from every angle on this app. The only thing that is good about it is the game itself, and people are giving low-star reviews as anti-$ sentiments.

  • Olley

    I guess it’s the nature of the market that kills the game. If this was on 3DS and Wii U for 10 bucks, I’d def get it without a hesitation. It’s just hard to pay so much for a game app on iPhone… the last 9.99 dollar app I bought was Super Monkey Ball in 2008? when the App Store was just opened and not too many good games around.