Seven months after its debut, Super Mario Run has been downloaded 150 million times, making it an incredibly successful app in terms of popularity. But as a free-to-play title, the real question becomes: How many of those downloads lead to actual purchases?
As Pocketgamer.biz reports, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima confirmed the game has been purchased by fewer than 10 percent of the people who’ve downloaded it. “This may be due to the price or the payment methods, so in the future we will consider not only a single set price, but other methods that incorporate a wider variety of elements to allow as many consumers as possible to play,” Kimishima said.
Kimishima also notes Fire Emblem Heroes, the company’s other major mobile franchise has made more money for Nintendo despite its smaller 15 million download number. Rather than have players make a single larger purchase of $10, Fire Emblem heroes has players make several smaller in-app purchases in order to get better heroes for their army. The company will be applying the lesson it has learned from these to titles to its upcoming Animal Crossing mobile game, though it did not announce when that title would release.
It looks like Nintendo’s slowly learning the lessons most mobile developers learned years ago: The real money’s in smaller in-app purchases. As a company, the smart move is formatting all your titles the way Nintendo has Fire Emblem Heroes. But as a player, it bums me out to see that Nintendo may end up using a model that often exploits its players.