Nintendo’s having a banner year with 2016 as they’ve recently announced that they’re making Pokemon Go available on Apple Watch, and now they’re celebrating having 50 million downloads of Super Mario Run.
That trusty iPhone just showed me a notification as I relax playing Slither.io. Super Mario Run is already at 50 million downloads and is currently at the top ten on the Free charts, plus I get 10 Toad Rally tickets. That’s quite an achievement for a game critically panned by critics, fans and players with its short gameplay and underhanded shareware tactic. Still hesitant to take the plunge and pay ten dollars for a game I won’t be able to play offline but I practice with the three free levels and the Toad Rally from time to time.
With the bad criticism, one would think that Super Mario Run might not have been a good idea for Nintendo, but so far it has paid off. Let’s see, out of fifty million downloads, let’s say ten million take the plunge and cough up ten dollars to continue playing the game out of curiosity, thirst for a challenge or pure fanboyism, that’s already a hundred million in revenue. Even if the downloads slow down, there’s still a few million more who might think of downloading the game down the road. Plus, the millions more in case Nintendo updates the game with an offline option. What’s actually baffling is despite having no Android option, it’s the sheer number of i-devices that are downloading the game. Guess we shouldn’t be surprised as there are games with far more downloads have come before like Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies, Temple Run, Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga and Pokemon Go.
“…Even children can play easily but deeply, enjoyable for a long time,”
— Hirokazu Hamamura, Famitsu Group
Many say the game is short and easy, but there’s no doubt that it’s fun to play. Super Mario Run is an enjoyable platformer that can only be delivered by Nintendo. Nintendo is known for fun games which is why they’ve stuck around for as long as they have in the console wars despite shipping underpowered consoles like the Wii. As I’ve mentioned before, Super Mario Run is Nintendo dipping its toes in the tub and Nintendo will find that the water is just fine. It’s okay for the company to remain hesitant in the mobile area and keep its unique perspective or identity on gaming. The company stated before that Nintendo wouldn’t be Nintendo if it enters the smartphone business but had to cave in to low sales and partner with mobile company DeNA. 50 million people, even take a dozen million are glad they did and apparently they are too.
There are a lot of possibilities for Nintendo on the mobile/smartphone market as it gives them another platform to work with. They have the DS on the mobile gaming side, the Nintendo Switch as a console and now smartphone and tablet gaming. There’s just a very big risk that smartphone and tablet gaming will cannibalize the DS market as much as it has with the PlayStation Portable. It’s a cross Nintendo will have to bear and put up. But once put up, they can establish a new religion from it. Nintendo has plenty of IP that it has savagely protected over the years and the company stated that Super Mario Run is just the beginning.
“Improve while watching the reaction of users, increase the proportion of people who charge,”
— President Tatsumi Kimishima, Nintendo
Indeed, Nintendo is watching for consumer reaction and may even be listening. Make the game playable offline, please. Nintendo is set to deliver Super Mario Run to Android phones next year and increase its customer base. Nintendo is currently planning to release two to three games on mobile per year. That’s a bit sparse, but it’s Nintendo’s way of protecting the current DS and upcoming Switch markets. Guess we’ll take what we can get.
Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing have been reported as slated for 2017 but there are plenty of other popular Nintendo franchises the company could dish out to mobile such as Metroid, Kirby, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Wario, Star Fox, Kid Icarus, Punch Out, F-Zero and many more. The aforementioned franchises could make their way to mobile before or after they’ve had their day in the sun on the Nintendo Switch—or, they can work in tandem, but that’s too much speculation for one day.
The popular mobile game “Pokemon Go” is now available on the Apple Watch, squashing rumors that the game’s maker was scrapping such plans.
The game involves catching digital pocket monsters in an augmented-reality version of your surroundings. The Apple Watch version will let you discover nearby Pokemon and collect special items, such as potions, from nearby “PokeStops.” But once you encounter a Pokemon, you will need to use your iPhone to catch it.
Still, the Apple Watch should make it easier for players to log their steps (needed to advance in the game and to hatch new Pokemon out of eggs), and to avoid walking around with their phones held out to search for nearby monsters.
“Pokemon Go” was a huge success when it came out in July. It’s not clear how the Apple Watch version will do, especially now that it’s too cold in much of the Northern Hemisphere to be outside catching Pokemon. Plans for the watch version had been announced at Apple’s iPhone launch event in September.
The game’s maker, Niantic, hasn’t announced any plans for Android Wear and Samsung Gear smartwatches.