Nintendo wants Super Mario Run to be as popular as Pokemon Go

Hey-a, you! Pikachu! It's-a me, Miyamoto!

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In an interview with Bloomberg, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said the company hopes to achieve as much success with Super Mario Run as Niantic (and the Pokemon Company and Nintendo) have achieved with Pokemon Go.

"In terms of expectations, we all saw what happened when we delivered Pokemon Go," Kimishima said. "And honestly I was quite surprised by it myself. There's no doubt that more people are using smartphones to play games. And as this time we're using Mario, that's a very important intellectual property for us."

Kimishima said that Miyamoto, specifically, is leading the charge to make sure Super Mario Run "spreads out" as rapidly as Pokemon Go did upon its release earlier this summer. Niantic's AR phenomenon recently earned the distinction of earning $600 million in revenue faster than any other mobile game.

Nintendo has reason to set its sights high—20 million reasons, in fact. "And as Tim Cook mentioned, more than 20 million people have already registered to receive notifications when the game is available," Kimishima said.

Super Mario Run will be a free-to-play game, with a sizable chunk of content available to play. An optional, one-time transaction unlocks the rest of the game. "And that should give peace of mind that kids can play it. And we're hoping that will help it become more popular," Kimishima said.

Kimishima and Bloomberg covered lots of ground in their interviews, including the president's surprise at the market's poor reaction to Nintendo's Switch announcement last week and the company's philosophy toward smartphone games.

Super Mario Run  is due to launch on iOS this December.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 28, 2016 2:09 PM

    David Craddock posted a new article, Nintendo wants Super Mario Run to be as popular as Pokemon Go

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      October 28, 2016 2:17 PM

      So fun for a couple weeks and then ignored by millions?

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        October 28, 2016 2:24 PM

        Yeah. They made more money from that ignored title in 1 quarter than the rest of the company will earn all year...

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          October 28, 2016 3:00 PM

          Stop being intelligent. You will scare off half of your chatty traffic. :p

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          October 28, 2016 3:16 PM

          Money aside Niantic doesn't exactly have a favorable standing for many. Similarly no one should aspire to be like Hello Games. Nintendo will do just fine on their own, assuming they don't decide to pull a Niantic and patch out the running portion of the game to instead have Mario wander aimlessly around the screen.

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            October 28, 2016 3:29 PM

            I wonder how Nintendo feels about Niantic's handling of Go

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            October 28, 2016 3:31 PM

            Nintendo has had 3 losses from operations out of the last 5 years. They went 30 years being profitable before that happened. They have to adapt to the changing landscape of gaming. Their blue ocean philosophy fits perfectly with an expansion into the mobile space.

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              October 28, 2016 4:07 PM

              Agreed? Not really sure where you are going with this.

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      October 28, 2016 2:18 PM

      I don't blame them.

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      October 28, 2016 2:30 PM

      Pokemon go was a fluke and another game app won't hit that kind of appeal with casual mobile users. What made pokemon go a hit was the Geolocation/proximity features and emergent social situations. A infinite runner is not going to do that. There are plenty of good infinite runners on the market now so they would have to really do something extremely novel to be noticed.

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      October 28, 2016 2:31 PM

      So it's a mario game for mobile, and they want people to like it as much as Pokemon Go?

      lol, ok. I don't think they understand why people liked the pokemon game.

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      October 28, 2016 2:32 PM

      I doubt it will be but I'm excited at the prospect of Nintendo production values as applied to the iPhone.

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      October 28, 2016 3:02 PM

      they can wish that all they want but why would they think it would be? they are fundamentally different types of games. this is seriously like the dumbest thing they have said. this mario run game might get played a lot, but there is zero chance it will have the effect that PG had because it doesn't have the special mechanics that PG has. mario run is just a normal runner game isn't it? unless I'm missing somethign

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        October 28, 2016 3:12 PM

        I don't get why some of you think this is unfeasible. Super Mario Bros. was a phenomenon. It's why many (if not most) of us play video games. At one point, more kids recognized Mario than Mickey Mouse. He's a casual-gaming icon. Over 20 million people have registered to be notified when SM Run becomes available; millions more will grab the game within the first 24 hours, and a huge percentage of those will pay to unlock the full game.

        Super Mario Run has a huge chance of topping Pokemon Go.

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          October 28, 2016 3:26 PM

          Because it's not bringing new and novel, social game play to the table. Pretty much that's the main reason for me. It could do well, but it has no reason to become the phenomenon that PG was. Why would it? Just based on nostalgia for the original mario games? That won't work because a huge chunk of the market doesn't have that experience under their belt because they are too young to have played the originals when they came out.

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            October 28, 2016 3:28 PM

            there're tons of enormously profitable mobile games that are not bringing anything new, novel or social to the table

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              October 28, 2016 3:29 PM

              As popular as Pokémon go was in that short of time?

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                October 28, 2016 3:33 PM

                Clash of Clans was definitely that successful in a similar time frame. So were Candy Crush, Angry Birds and plenty of other mindless garbage games.

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                  October 28, 2016 3:50 PM

                  Maybe I'm over estimating how wildly successful PG was

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            October 28, 2016 3:38 PM

            That won't work because a huge chunk of the market doesn't have that experience under their belt because they are too young to have played the originals when they came out.

            New Super Mario Bros. Wii sold more than Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 combined. There's a huge casual market for 2D Mario platformers of any ilk.

            Also, Nintendo doesn't have to do anything new by making a Mario-themed runner. They're going to do what they do better than anyone: take a conventional formula, like endless runners, and make it shine so brightly it blinds you. They're like Blizzard in that way.

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          October 28, 2016 3:41 PM

          I suspect it'll probably be very successful at launch, but it fade out quicker than Pokemon Go did.

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      October 28, 2016 3:19 PM

      Looks fun

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      October 28, 2016 3:23 PM

      if the game costs $5 they'd need 120m paid users to reach Pokemon Go's revenue numbers. Temple Run 1 + 2 had 1 billion downloads as a free to play endless runner with no existing brand value, so if this was similarly popular they'd need a 12% conversion rate to paid users to reach those goals.

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      October 29, 2016 7:49 AM

      Doesn't everyone want everything to be as popular as Pokémon Go?