Super Mario Run generated a lot of hype before it was released. It marked Nintendo's first official foray into mobile gaming, and more importantly, it was with the company's flagship IP: Super Mario.
And if you'll recall, after #PokemonGO was released, Nintendo's stock value soared (...and then plummeted). Many people expected the same increase to occur with Super Mario Run's release, but it seems that may not be the case. The issue?
Super Mario Run costs $10.
Why The Price Point Is A Problem
I've talked about this a bit already, but a big part of the problem with the $10 price point is the way it's presented. Instead of doing what almost every other app on the App Store does — having a separate, totally free demo version — Super Mario Run packages the demo right in with the main game.
As a result, people are able to download it totally free, play it for a bit, and then get slapped in the face with a paywall. It's a huge momentum killer in a game that's all about never stopping, and it feels like an intentionally deceptive approach to getting people to buy your game.
Because of this approach, Super Mario Run is not receiving the best ratings in the world. It has over 50,000 reviews as of this writing, and the 5-to-1-star ratio keeps getting smaller. People see the paywall, get mad, and leave a bad review — regardless of how good the game itself actually is.
Investors see these ratings and not the game behind them, and as a result, Nintendo's stock value decreases. It's an unfortunate side effect, but it's what happens when a game is reviewed poorly. In this case, a majority of those poor reviews are strictly a result of the $10 price and nothing else.
However, People Are Also Worried About Longevity
One of the other major concerns players (and investors) have is the amount of content they're actually getting for their money and how that content will remain relevant in the long run. Pokémon GO has released a few different updates since its release, and they've all been free — including the latest update that adds some generation-2 Pokémon.
Of course, Pokémon GO has micro-transactions that have likely resulted in people spending money on the game, but those are all optional purchases. Super Mario Run has yet to prove itself in terms of longevity, which makes people more hesitant to outright purchase it.
This isn't exactly a new phenomenon in gaming — oftentimes, big-release games (cough No Man's Sky cough) are a lot better after a major update. Now, Super Mario Run has released additional content already in the form of some holiday-exclusive items, but those remain purely cosmetic.
The Game Lasts Much Longer If You're A Completionist
This final point is less quantifiable, but it's something that I noticed almost immediately after playing the game. Simply beating the levels and making it to that final castle in world 6 isn't all that hard. Sure, it might take a few times on some levels, but if you're just playing to see the levels and experience the gameplay, $10 won't last you very long.
Thing is, the game's main draw isn't making it to the end of a level. Each level has pink coins which prove a challenge to get. Finish that, and now you have purple coins to go after. Finish that? Black coins. Each color is progressively harder to get than the last, and combined, they offer what are essentially 3 additional difficulties for each level. And trust me, they're not exactly easy to get.
Moreover, the Kingdom Builder mode lets you expand and customize the Mushroom Kingdom to make it your own. Doing so requires a certain number of Toads obtainable only through Toad Rally, a certain number of colored coins through the normal game mode, and, of course, a certain number of regular coins. Plus, if you don't care about building a castle, there are also 5 additional characters to unlock for play, each with their own unique trait that changes how you can approach levels.
In short, if you're looking to experience the whole game, it's going to last you a while even before Nintendo provides any sorts of updates. In my opinion, it's worth the cost for completionists who also enjoy a classic Mario experience. If you just want to play levels, then yeah, the price might be a big turn off. Hopefully #Nintendo proves it can keep the game going in the months to come — but if it wants to turn investors' opinions around, it may have to do it sooner rather than later.
What does Super Mario Run need to make it worth $10 for you?