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Super Mario Run’s sales are starting to crash a week after its launch

A Super Mario soft toy is seen among the ruins of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Yamada
Reuters/Toru Hanai
A bit worse for wear.
  • Joon Ian Wong
By Joon Ian Wong

Technology Reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

More than 40 million people have downloaded Super Mario Run, Nintendo’s first true iPhone game, but apparently most of them aren’t enjoying it enough to play beyond the game’s first three levels. Nintendo charges $9.99 to play the rest of the game, and players appear to have decided it’s not worth it.

Super Mario Run is rapidly sinking on the App Store’s sales charts. It fell 22 places in Japan’s App Store, according to data from the research firm Sensor Tower. Japan’s mobile users spend the most on in-game purchases globally—more than double the spend of gamers in the US—according to the analytics firm App Annie.

Top grossing chart rankingDec. 16Dec. 23Change in ranking
Hong Kong115-14
Source: Sensor Tower

Japan was a key market for Nintendo’s earlier mega-hit, Pokémon Go. The game’s sales accelerated after its launch there, according to Sensor Tower. But if Japan’s game-savvy audience isn’t convinced by Super Mario Run’s offering, it doesn’t bode well for the game, as Tero Kuittinen, co-founder of the gaming consultancy Kuuhubb, observed (though he seemed to confuse the game’s title).

It’s not just Japan that’s wary of shelling out for Super Mario Run. The game is sinking on sales charts around the world. It fell 14 places in Hong Kong and four places in the US. Negative reviews are piling up in key markets. In the UK, it has over 2,500 one-star reviews compared to 944 five-star ones. In Japan, it’s 3,577 one-stars to 1,056 five-stars.

App Annie and Sensor Tower estimate that Super Mario Run made between $16 million and $21 million in its first four days. That’s a conversion rate of between 4% and 8%. That rate is unlikely to improve, given the game’s huge number of downloads. Nintendo will now look to two remaining catalysts to boost its fortunes: a launch on Android smartphones (that’s coming “at some point in the future,” according to Nintendo), and a launch on China’s App Store.

Meanwhile, Nintendo’s stock is leaking value, down more than 19% in the six days since Super Mario Run launched. Even a heroic, super-powered plumber would have trouble fixing that.

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