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Old 12-20-2016, 04:37 AM
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Default Nintendo's mobile games

ITT Nintendo tries to find its footing in the mobile space, and stumbles.

So, Super Mario Run came out on iOS, and has proven to be pretty divisive. Despite a strong performance in both downloads and revenue, Nintendo's stock fell. Part of that may be due to the unrealistic analyst forecasts which expected Pokemon GO numbers, as well as the backlash it's seeing on the app store. Folks are of course annoyed at the always-online requirement, and at the price. Players wish the game cost one dollar and investors wish the game cost infinity dollars.

The online requirement is dumb, but the online components are also a bigger part of the game than they appear to be. Nintendo advertises the World Tour mode as the main mode of the game, but that mode only has 24 levels and is over in like an hour. The Toad Rally mode has far more legs, pitting you against player ghosts in courses made of spliced together chunks of levels, creating something that's halfway between a random endless runner and a carefully-designed level. It's a unique take on the genre, very Nintendo, and wouldn't be nearly as compelling without the competitive aspect.

The complaints about price are a problem of messaging. The game is free to download, and has all the trimmings of a f2p game, right down to in-game currency you need in order to play Toad Rally. I get the feeling that Run was originally meant to be f2p but switched course halfway through development. Once you gain some footing, the game gets so generous with Toad Rally tickets that they may as well not exist. I've played Toad Rally for at least an hour every day since launch and my tickets are almost always maxed out at 99.

As is the free download is meant to be a demo, but players have backlashed against the $9.99 "paywall" as a bait and switch. Nintendo probably would have been better off listing the game as $9.99 on the App Store to prevent confusion. The onerous monetization of f2p games has created a certain expectation such that people actually get mad when a game doesn't want to nickel and dime them for eternity.

It's a weird situation. Super Mario Run is an objective success and a subjective flop. I'm definitely worried that the negative perception of the game will overshadow the fact that people are buying it, and lead to Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing going full gacha.
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Old 12-20-2016, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Sprite View Post
So, Super Mario Run came out on iOS, and has proven to be pretty divisive. Despite a strong performance in both downloads and revenue, Nintendo's stock fell. Part of that may be due to the unrealistic analyst forecasts which expected Pokemon GO numbers, as well as the backlash it's seeing on the app store. Folks are of course annoyed at the always-online requirement, and at the price. Players wish the game cost one dollar and investors wish the game cost infinity dollars.
The dumb part of this is that it did BETTER then GO's numbers.
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Old 12-20-2016, 05:57 AM
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The dumb part of this is that it did BETTER then GO's numbers.
Oh right, forgot about that. And yet analyst forecasts plummeted for... some reason. The game is perceived as a failure despite seeing huge success. It's probably unlikely to maintain millions of dollars every day for months, but it also requires far less upkeep than GO does.
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Old 12-20-2016, 06:08 AM
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Regardless of app store perceptions and stock issues, Mario Run is an incredible game. More than worth the ten bucks. The small amount of levels is offset that each has four escalating goals giving them tons of replay value, and because the paths through the levels are so varied they don't feel rote. And Toad Rally is genius. You wouldn't think competing against ghost would be compelling, but it's super addictive. The new move-set feels wonderful when you fly though a stage and you see those number rocket past an opponent. The mode would absolutely crush with f2p elements and I admire Nintendo so much that they aren't capitalizing on that.
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Old 12-20-2016, 06:17 AM
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It did better than Go numbers despite only being on iOS? That's crazy.
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Old 12-20-2016, 06:19 AM
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The thing to keep remembering about Nintendo's investors is that they constantly keep expecting Nintendo to be a normal video game company. Which is like... who did you think you were investing in? EA? Some brand new startup with no history?

At this point in gaming, why anyone would think that Nintendo would JUST do the normal, "what everyone else is doing" thing when entering a specific market, is beyond me.


Now, to be fair, Run is only single purchase, so GO might eventually outperform (even though GO's microtransactions are super irrelevant), unless Run ends up selling map packs. But in terms of the way investors react, it's important to at least point out that Run did better then GO in the same timeframe, if they were "unhappy that it didn't reach GO numbers".
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Old 12-20-2016, 07:38 AM
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The game is perceived as a failure despite seeing huge success.

I'm not particularly worried, I think there is a certain amount of "failure" baked into Nintendo's expectations of what this game would achieve. These games aren't Nintendo abandoning their niche to boldly enter a new market. This is them expanding the reach of their IP. To Nintendo, the real success of Pokemon GO is the amount of 3DS consoles sold this year, and the amount of Sun/Moon cartridges sold. The real goal of Mario Run is to lay groundwork for whatever the Mario Switch game is.

Nintendo's biggest successes happen when they buck trends instead of following them.
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Old 12-20-2016, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Sprite View Post
Nintendo advertises the World Tour mode as the main mode of the game, but that mode only has 24 levels and is over in like an hour.
I haven't paid to unlock all the levels yet and I've definitely got more than an hour out of the World Tour portion of the game. The third set of hidden coins (that metal ones that remix the stage) are really tough. I still have 1-3's metal coins to go before I finish the free trial.

You can maybe "beat" World Tour in an hour if you're playing primarily to experience Mario Run's intricately crafted narrative, but the real meat of World Tour mode as a game is mastering 3 different sets of coins that present increasingly difficult platforming challenges, including one that changes the stage layout.

(You probably already know this. Just clarifying for anyone who hears it's "only an hour" out of context.)
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Old 12-20-2016, 09:45 AM
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People sell on results when things come out regardless of how they perform, it seems like kind of normal market activity.

I bought the game and have all the pink/purple/black coins on the levels at this point, I thought it was pretty fun and I appreciate the ability to just buy all the levels at once without any IAP or intrusive ads. That said, I think the Rayman Jungle Run games did this concept better and the levels were much better designed and had a flow to them that was a blast to play, but those games didn't have as much replay value and the last one was eventually ruined by IAP type stuff, so SMB Run is a welcome addition to the genre.

However, I don't think I'll play the game much more moving forward now that I beat all the tour levels and got the coins. I may be in the minority, but I really, really hate the Toad Rally. I wish that the "Leveling up" of enemies mechanic wasn't in the game at all, because it seems to exist just to make you grind endlessly and puts the Toad Rally races on unequal footing if someone is getting more coins for an enemy than you are. If we're going to do a race, then let's do a race where everyone is playing by the same rules.

I'm used to Nintendo games having so much content or being so addictive that I keep coming back to them to master the challenges. So far, their mobile games have not had this quality. Miitomo grew tiresome in a couple of days while I still play Tamodachi Life and have fun with it. SMB Run was addictive, but the main meat of the game can be completed 100% in just a weekend. I suppose that's fine for 10 bucks, but I don't think Nintendo has figured out the way to really get hooks into people with mobile and create a product you come back to again and again. For that stuff, you still need to buy 3DS and Wii U games.
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Old 12-20-2016, 10:44 AM
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With regards to Nintendo's stock, investors are just as obsessed with optics as the rest of us, and when almost every SMR article pisses and moans about how it should have been free, they tend to freak out. Never mind that "IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN FREE!" has been the rallying cry of iOS gamers for years now.

Honestly, if Nintendo had released it as a pure F2P with bolted-on microtransactions the way backseat drivers are telling them they should have, that would have sent the ominous message that Nintendo considers Mario to be much more important as the corporate brand-extension product he really is, rather than a promise that the player is getting a reasonably well-crafted game for a reasonable amount of money.
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Old 12-20-2016, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estragon View Post
You can maybe "beat" World Tour in an hour if you're playing primarily to experience Mario Run's intricately crafted narrative, but the real meat of World Tour mode as a game is mastering 3 different sets of coins that present increasingly difficult platforming challenges, including one that changes the stage layout.
Definitely true, but only if you enjoy "collect the coin" challenges, and not everyone does. The part of Run that resembles what most people think of as a Mario game is very short. There is a ton of game to be had, an endless amount, but only if you enjoy the more intense, technical side of Mario games. Which I do, because Mario acrobatics are awesome. It's just a weird direction to take for a game trying to capture the casual mobile market.
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Old 12-20-2016, 09:15 PM
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Market analysis aside, Mario Run is a phenomenal game. They did a great job translating Mario Gameplay into a one button game. I haven't had a ton of time to play it, but I'm enjoying what I've played so far.
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Old 12-20-2016, 09:21 PM
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Stocks always rise in anticipation of things happening and then fall when things happen.
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Old 12-21-2016, 01:03 AM
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R.I.P Nintendo
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Old 12-22-2016, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
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Market analysis aside, Mario Run is a phenomenal game. They did a great job translating Mario Gameplay into a one button game. I haven't had a ton of time to play it, but I'm enjoying what I've played so far.
This except I have logged a quite a bit.
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Old 12-22-2016, 12:26 PM
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So I happened to be at an Apple store today and noticed they had a Mario eyecatch reel running on almost every iPhone in the place.

There's an image to confuse the fuck out of nerds if you ever happen to time-travel to the recent past.
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Old 12-22-2016, 01:06 PM
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There's an image to confuse the fuck out of nerds if you ever happen to time-travel to the recent past.
Sounds fun. I'll stop to blow a few 2015 nerd minds on my way to Trump Tower.
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Old 12-22-2016, 02:24 PM
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The only thing I have that will run Mario Run is an ipod touch, but the stupid always online thing means I can't play it outside of wifi, so I'm not going to buy it until it hits android. But I did have fun with what i've played, and it seems like Toad Rally will keep it going past the core levels.
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