Nintendo’s first mobile game, Super Mario Run, was enormously
popular — but that doesn’t mean it was a success for the company.
During its most recent earnings report, Nintendo revealed that
Mario Run has been downloaded 200 million times, 90 percent of
which came from outside of Japan. However, Nintendo says that
despite these big numbers, the game has “not yet reached an
acceptable profit point.” While Nintendo didn’t reveal any
specifics with regards to conversion rates, a big sticking point
for many with Super Mario Run was its comparatively large price
point; it’s free to download, but requires a one-time fee of $9.99
to unlock the whole game.
In contrast, Fire Emblem Heroes — which utilizes a more typical
free-to-play structure, with plentiful microtransactions — has
been a much more lucrative title for Nintendo.
I’d love to know Nintendo’s conversion rate on the $9.99 in-app purchase. It must be pretty low for 200 million downloads not to be profitable enough.