Nintendo officially announced the for Super Mario Run on Tuesday. It’s $9.99. Sort of.
Starting with a few efforts on the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo’s employed an interesting take on “free-to-play.” It’s more like free-to-start. Games release as free demos, and then players pony up cash to unlock the full experience.
That’s what will happen with Super Mario Run. When the game releases on December 15 for iOS devices, players will be able to “download and enjoy a portion of the game for free.” Nintendo hasn’t clarified how large that portion is, but I imagine it won’t spill far beyond the first world.
From there, players will pay a one-time fee of $9.99 to access everything. Nintendo notes concisely that players “will not be required to make additional payments after…”
The free-to-start model is perfect.
I am absolutely down with Nintendo’s free-to-start policy. I love the idea that players will be able to download the game for free, give it a shot and make up their minds.
I also love that once you pay the fee, you’ll never pay again. Nintendo’s fine print suggests that this one time fee will cover the game indefinitely. If that’s the case, extra worlds could come in as free updates below that initial price point.
Free-to-start makes sense to me, and it’s a sales model I would like to see other developers make use of in the mobile space.
That $9.99 price point, though?
10 bucks for Super Mario Run. Sure, it’s cheaper than Square Enix’s ludicrously priced JRPGs, but $10 for a mobile runner is a tall, tall order.
Heck, at $9.99, Super Mario Run is more expensive than the mobile version of Minecraft. That game sells for $6.99 and offers no microtransactions.
I think the game will be a success, though. This is Nintendo’s first hard foray into mobile, and the company and its software have both been observed in more positive lights lately. Consider Pokémon GO and the NES Classic (granted, that last one is making shoppers angry due to its hard-to-find status) for a moment. Both products are working to get Nintendo into the minds of gamers and casual users. Those two releases make Super Mario Run‘s timing perfect for the consumer space.
It’ll sell well, no doubt. I just think it would sell a whole lot better at $4.99. It’s a runner. Sure, it’ll have Nintendo’s quality, but this is a running mobile game that Nintendo is pricing exponentially higher than all others in the category.
Is $9.99 too much? No. It’s expensive, though, make no mistake.
Will you buy Super Mario Run at that price? I’m waiting for the Android version.