Nintendo disappointed with Super Mario Run profit


Super Mario Run on iOS
200 million downloads haven't pulled in enough cash.
Photo: Apple

Super Mario Run was the hottest game on iOS for months after it hit the App Store. It has now been downloaded more than 200 million times on mobile, and yet, the title is yet to reach “an acceptable profit point,” Nintendo says.

That’s bad news for fans of Nintendo’s mobile games.

Super Mario Run wasn’t the first mobile game from Nintendo, but it was by far the Japanese company’s most anticipated to date. It took just four days for the game to attract more than 40 million downloads, and just 24 hours to make $4 million in cash.

It’s unclear how much the game has made in total up to this point, but Nintendo says it’s not enough. During its most recent earnings report, the company revealed that Super Mario Run has “not yet reached an acceptable profit point” after 200 million downloads.

Mario’s face was enough to attract fans of the series, but the game’s price tag was clearly a sticking point for some. Although it is free to download initially, players must cough up $9.99 to unlock the whole game.

Nintendo is pleased with Fire Emblem Heroes

Nintendo took a different approach with Fire Emblem Heroes. That employs a more typical free-to-play system, which lets you enjoy most of the game for free, but offers micro-transactions for those who want to gain an advantage.

As a result, Fire Emblem Heroes has been much more successful in terms of profit.

“For this title, we listened to the voices of our consumers and provided continual updates,” the company explained. “As a result, we are on track to meet our overall business objectives, including our profit objectives.”

It’s likely the company will use a similar money-making system for Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, which is scheduled to arrive on iOS next month.

Switch sales are spectacular

Fortunately for Nintendo, the company isn’t so reliant on mobile games anymore. Its Switch console has been wildly successful since making its debut, and is on track to beat total Wii U sales within its first year.

That’s good news for some Nintendo fans, but perhaps bad news for those who prefer to play on mobile. The more successful the company’s core console and game business is, the less the company will need to build mobile titles to make money.


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