Nintendo shares went wild following last week’s announcement that the company is launching Super Mario Run exclusively in Apple’s App Store, and analysts are weighing in on the announcement. The last time Nintendo stock went crazy was when investors realized that Pokemon Go was such a huge hit — even though the company didn’t actually develop the game. This time the story is different.
Super Mario Run is a side-scrolling platform game that fits well within the Super Mario franchise as the player runs to collect coins. Until now, Nintendo had far kept Mario off of mobile devices, however. There will also be a Toad Rally mode, which allows players to challenge each other, and a create your own Mushroom Kingdom mode, which makes the game more social.
More goodies coming from Nintendo?
Deutsche Bank analyst Han Joon Kim noted in a September 8 report that the Super Mario Run announcement could indicate that Nintendo has more surprises on the way. The announcement was totally unexpected, which means the Japanese company did an exceptional job at keeping the game under wraps. We heard not even a peep about it ahead of time, unlike with other topics like the upcoming Nintendo NX console.
The analyst noted that Nintendo only promised five smartphone games by March 2017, but the company could announce that it will have several more the next year. Super Mario Run is the fourth of the five titles, and a Zelda game is expected to be the fifth. Kim also questioned whether Nintendo’s bargaining power as a content creator is rising because it could have announced Super Mario Run for both iOS and Android at the same time.
The analyst noted that it’s unusual for a game developer to grant exclusivity or priority to one mobile platform over another. Since iOS is getting the game before Android, Nintendo might be getting a payment from Apple because usually priority or exclusivity comes with financial remuneration to the developer. As a result, Kim will be watching to see if Nintendo manages to secure more such deals.
Great monetization potential for Super Mario Run
There are conflicting reports about how Nintendo will monetize it, with some sources stating that it will be free to download and that parts of it are free to play. JPMorgan analysts noted in their September 8 note that there’s quite a lot of monetization potential with Super Mario Run.
The firm’s analysts also compared it to the hugely popular game Temple Run, which was the top-selling game in the U.S. They note that Temple Run had more than 1 billion downloads, compared to Pokemon Go‘s 500 million downloads. If Super Mario Run enjoys success similar to that of Temple Run, they see a great monetization potential for it.
How much will Nintendo charge for Super Mario Run?
The game will launch in more than 100 countries in December on the App Store, but an Android version is expected at a later unannounced date. JPMorgan states that the game will be free to play with in-game charges, although Nintendo confirmed that it will actually be a pay-to-download game but did not give a price. While some similar games from companies like Capcom have come at a price of $10 to $20, Deutsche Bank would prefer that the price is kept lower to attract a wider audience.
Nomura analyst Sumito Takeda expects Nintendo to set “some sort of upper limit to user consumption” or a “Nintendo-like” billing design, speaking to the expectations for some of the content to be playable for free. The bigger question, the analyst notes, is whether Super Mario Run will translate into purchases of the upcoming Nintendo NX hardware expected in March.