Nintendo is making a big push into gaming on mobile devices.
Trying to build on the huge success of Pokemon GO, it has launched the popular Super Mario Bros franchise on Apple’s iPhone and iPads.
Industry observers said it could be a risky move in an increasingly crowded video gaming market. And in some key markets, such as Japan, there are signs of saturation.
In addition the Japanese company is asking users to pay up front for everything other than the most basic access to the game which could limit revenues. The free-to-play section includes only three of the 24 stages. The full version will cost $10 (9.58 euros).
Previous blockbusters – such as Candy Crush Saga and Angry Birds – typically only charge for access to top levels and for special features.
Another potential problem is that Super Mario Run is initially only for iPhones, though a version for Android smartphones is promised later.
It is available in more than 150 countries but not China, which is a huge market for games and mobile apps.
Can it repeat Pokeman’s success?
The smash-hit Pokemon GO, which has been downloaded over 600 million times since July, is based on Nintendo’s famous monster characters and was developed jointly by Google spinoff Niantic Co and Nintendo affiliate Pokemon Company.
Unlike Pokemon GO, Super Mario Run is the first game for mobile developed by Nintendo, under a partnership with mobile gaming firm DeNA Co, which means it will enjoy the lion’s share of its success or bear the brunt of failure.
App analytics firm SensorTower forecasts worldwide gross revenue of over $71 million (68 million euros) for Super Mario Run in its first month, just half of the $143 million (137 million euros) that Pokemon GO garnered.