As Nintendo’s second big experiment in mobile gaming approaches in the form of Super Mario Run, Dr. Serkan Toto, a reputable mobile market analyst in Tokyo and CEO of Kantan Games, Inc., has predicted that Super Mario Run is going to do very well come its release. Dr. Toto had previously predicted, on Twitter, that Pokémon Go would be a huge success in Japan. On the day that it was released there, USA Today reported it had been downloaded many times more than on the day it was released here. Retrospectively, it appears that Dr. Toto was correct in his hypothesis about Pokémon Go’s success in Japan. In regards to Super Mario Run, however, Dr. Toto explains:
“As Nintendo’s first actual game for smart devices, I expect Super Mario Run to do extremely well in terms of downloads: 1.5 billion+ downloads (over the lifecycle of the game, worldwide, on both iOS and Android and for tablets and phones).
I upped the estimate I gave to the Wall Street Journal after giving it more thought.
This is of course for the initial download, which will be free (users will get asked for real money to unlock content after an initial free playing phase).
An “if”: the free version of the app should offer a reasonable amount of content to players before hitting them with a paywall, especially multiplayer or leaderboards. Otherwise, there is no way (i.e. because of reduced virality and word of mouth).
The pricing has caused a lot of confusion: Nintendo Japan is historically terrible in communications, and Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto did a bad job explaining this part of the game when he demonstrated it for the first time.”
Dr. Toto then goes on to explain reasons as to why Super Mario Run may be so successful:
- “again: Super Mario Run is a free-to-download and not a premium app in the traditional sense
- it will star Mario, the world’s most iconic video game IP (the simplest but perhaps clearest of the soft arguments)
- a bad experience would be incredibly disappointing: it can be expected that Nintendo and DeNA will do everything to deliver quality content, especially as a follow-up to Pokemon Go
- over the last years, anticipation for Nintendo content on smart devices has been higher than for any other video games: it will also be the first Mario experience for millions of people (i.e. in China, when Super Mario Run gets actually launched there)
- the title already received massive marketing support from Apple (Miyamoto on stage at the iPhone 7 unveiling, there will be “Mario stickers” when Apple switches on the feature in iMessage, etc.)
- it’s the first app on iOS using Apple’s pre-registration service: this means that everybody pushing the “notify” button on the game’s already existing App Store page will get a push notification on their device when the game is live (this alone will generate massive traffic on day one) – a great, effective, free and direct user acquisition tool
- there can be no question that Apple will massively promote Super Mario Run further when it goes live – also all for free
- even though Android was ignored at launch, Google most likely will do similar/free promotions when Super Mario Run gets available on their devices in 2017
- etc. etc.”
This is a very convincing argument. Dr. Toto has provided a lot of support for his claims as well. Among other reasons for Super Mario Run to receive a good amount of traffic on its release, Dr. Toto is certainly right in that Mario is one of the most iconic, if not the most iconic, video game characters of all-time. The game will initially be free and it is being marketed very well by both Nintendo and Apple. He did criticize Nintendo Japan for confusing the public in regards to pricing, but overall, he still expects the game to do very well worldwide.
It is important to reiterate that Dr. Serkan Toto is very reputable when it comes to Japanese mobile app and gaming markets, as he has spoken to the Wall Street Journal, arguably the most highly regarded media source for financial markets. Plus, he predicted Pokémon Go’s success in Japan very accurately. Although time will tell in regards to Dr. Toto’s hypothesis over the course of the game’s lifecycle, iPhone users can expect to see Super Mario Run sometime in December. For more information on Super Mario Run, we will keep you updated.
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