March 2, 2024

Will Super Mario Run help Nintendo sell consoles?


Earlier in September, Apple started its keynote event, the one where it eventually debuted the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, with a bit of a surprise. Nintendo’s own chief game designer, Shigeru Miyamoto, took the stage and unveiled Super Mario Run. It’s an endless runner game, and its reveal was kind of a big deal.

It’s not like Nintendo’s plans to launch mobile games have been a secret, though. The company already launched an app called Miitomo, which technically had some mini-games baked in, but it was more of a social experience than a proper mobile game. We already know there are other games coming down the pipe, too, using the Fire Emblem franchise as a jumping off point.

Animal Crossing is coming to mobile, too. And while both of those game franchises have massive followings, it still wasn’t Mario. Or Luigi. Or Yoshi. Or even Wario.

Seeing Mario, a “proper” Mario game, on a smartphone marks a huge shift from Nintendo up to this point. The company is basically the leader when it comes to mobile gaming platforms, with Sony’s Vita the only real contender in any capacity. Nintendo has been staunchly ignoring smartphones, and the digital storefronts available to them, for years.

Apple being the company that gets to launch Super Mario Run, and welcome Nintendo to the mobile game industry in a big way, is huge news. It makes sense that they’d want to make that announcement right in line with brand new iPhones. Of course, we’re still waiting for the game, even with the new phones already on the market, but hopefully the wait is worth it.

The part that really stood out to me about the upcoming Mario game, though, is that Nintendo wants it to be a gateway game to the better, fuller experience on a console. So, while Nintendo is going to sell mobile games, they basically just want to remind people that while Mario might be fun on the iPhone – it’ll be better on the company’s console.

I don’t know if that will work, but it’s certainly an interesting approach. Nintendo does have a new console on the way, codenamed NX, so maybe getting Mario in front of even more people, via their smartphone, will incentivize them to buy a console at some point in the future.

Whatever Nintendo’s endgame is here, whether that’s a huge, focused push into mobile gaming, or just a means to get people to buy consoles, I’m genuinely glad to see games from Nintendo arriving on smartphones. As mentioned above, we know other games are coming, and I hope that this is a trend that continues well into the future.

Mario, Yoshi, Luigi, and the rest of the well-known characters from Nintendo’s roster all showing up on smartphones would just be a lot of fun, especially with games designed like Super Mario Run. There’s a huge market here, and Nintendo seems to be waking up to it – even if they ultimately have ulterior motives that aim to get more expensive hardware adopted.

The question is: Are you looking forward to seeing more games from Nintendo show up on your smartphone? Do you plan on picking up Super Mario Run when it launches?

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