Super Mario Run hits record 40 million downloads in first 4 days

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Super Mario Run on iOS
Unfortunately, not everything is so positive!
Photo: Apple

Super Mario Run only shipped late last week, and already it has set a new download record of 40 million downloads in only its first four days.

That may be where the good news ends, however.

The report by Reuters notes that, despite plenty of downloads, users are baulking at paying $9.99 to unlock the overwhelming majority of game content. That means that despite earning gross sales of around $21 million, Super Mario Run‘s launch has actually pushed Nintendo share prices to a one-month low.

“Mario is arguably the most popular gaming franchise in the world, yet we see only about 8 percent of those who try the game actually purchasing it,” Sensor Tower analyst Spencer Gabriel is quoted as saying. Interestingly, the Reuters report suggests substantially lower download figures (25 million) than Nintendo’s official 40 million number.

If Nintendo’s figures are accurate, as one would suspect, it’s not known whether that 8 percent figure would be closer to the 5 percent mark when factoring in the discrepancy in numbers.

While the reviews for the game have been middling to positive, the problem painted by the Reuters article is of a lack of perceived value compared with other free-to-play titles. At present, such issues have earned Super Mario Run a not-exactly-impressive 2.5 out of 5 App Store average rating.

“This is a fee app disguised as a free app,” one reviewer noted. “You need to pay after playing for 10 minutes. I don’t mind paying but the fee is a bit big. It’s a disappointment after waiting with so much expectation.”

Nintendo defended its pricing to Reuters, with a spokesperson noting that it was, “designed to reassure parents that they would be charged just once, not multiple times, [when kids download the game.”

Another problem the article picks up on is the fact that the game is less an example of Nintendo embracing Apple than it is a promotional tool to lure people into buying Nintendo consoles. In this way, the negative press may at least provide more public awareness of the character — although this “no publicity is bad publicity” take doesn’t make too much sense to me.

Not mentioned in the article is another problem that a number of people have mentioned to me as a factor putting them off buying Super Mario Run: that even with the premium cost, security issues still mean that gamers require an “always on” internet connection to play.

Have you downloaded Super Mario Run yet? Do you think Nintendo has botched the launch, or is the fact that it has achieved record download numbers while decreasing share prices just another example of crazy Wall Street expectations? Leave your comments below.