If you have been following Super Mario Run news on RockU MediaCraft, you probably read an article of mine where I talked about the game's 40 million download figure. At the end of the article I wrote the following:
"Also, Nintendo hasn't released the number of players who actually purchased the game. That is an important factor to keep in mind for future Nintendo releases".
Well, those figures are now out, and they are not that awesome.
A lot of people downloaded the game, but very few people bought it. That's basically what happened. Actually, a lot of people bought it, but not nearly the amount Nintendo and investors hoped. This is what caused the decline in Nintendo's stock we saw a few days ago, in which the stock lowered over 16% of its value. Of those 40 million who downloaded the game, only 1.5 million actually paid for it. Again, that is a hell of a lot of money, but Nintendo expected a lot more than that.
Why did it happened?
In my opinion, I don't think Nintendo did much wrong. The only caveat I can think of is the price of the game. As I have exposed before, the game is too expensive for the mobile market at $9.99. A price of $5.99 to $7.99 tops would have helped the game greatly. We, as mobile users, are just not accustomed to that. We are accustomed to our games being free to play with ads, or free to play with microtransactions. I personally prefer the one-time payment strategy of Nintendo, but again, the price kills it. I could buy three excellent games (Super Brother's Sword and Sworcery, The Bards Tale, and Rayman Fiesta Run) all for ten dollars.
Is not that the game is bad, it's actually great, is the market and Nintendo's approach to it that handicapped its sales.
What does this means for us?
What's left to come depends entirely on Nintendo. We as consumers are not going to change to adapt to its expectations. They can do four things: First, they keep doing the same thing, one time payments and high prices for the market. Second, they can adapt to the market and make their games cheaper. Third, they can adapt their games to feature free to play ads or in-app purchases characteristics, or fourth, they can altogether give up and stop developing mobile games. I understand why Nintendo did what they did. Mario is one of their greatest IPs, so selling it cheap seemed dumb and putting ads or microtransactions seemed like risking its value, but the mobile market does not care about any of that.
For now, all we can do as users is closely observe what Nintendo does with the games they are already developing and that most likely will be published for mobile platforms. Fire Emblem could be a good game to be coupled with ads, and Animal Crossing could be an interesting micro-transactions experiment.