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Nintendo this week announced that in honor of its most iconic pot-bellied Italian character, it has slashed the price of Super Mario Run — as part of a celebration commemorating ‘Mario Day’ this Saturday, March 10.
New players who download the title for iOS or Android will be able to unlock the entire game — including all 6 worlds, which usually costs $9.99 — for just $4.99 for a limited-time. The sale begins March 10 and runs through March 25.
Super Mario Run was teased as an iOS exclusive launch title by Apple CEO Tim Cook at his company’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference, 2016 prior to being released alongside the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus later that fall.
Since then, the game has made its official debut over on the Google Play Store featuring compatibility with select Android devices running v4.2 or later.
According to some of the Japanese gaming-giant’s recent comments Super Mario Run has not been performing quite as successfully as the company hoped and sales have fallen unreasonably short of its expectations.
When it launched amid a whirlwind of publicity and generally positive reviews, Nintendo propositioned the game as free to download — but charged players a flat fee of $9.99 to keep playing beyond the first few levels. While some die-hard Nintendo fans relished the idea of having Mario on their phone for $9.99, others, naturally, complained about the high price on social media and refused to get on board with it.
Fortunately, in the face of underwhelming sales, Nintendo appears to have learned from its mobile gaming marketing faux pas, and has released a number of subsequent titles including Fire Emblem: Heroes and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp which are built on a much more lucrative “free-to-play” business model. Such allows players to download and play “for free” — while also giving them the option to purchase in-app items and upgrades a la carte, if they so desire.
This strategy has already proven successful, and we can only hope Nintendo will maintain it with the upcoming release of major titles like The Legend of Zelda on iOS. It’s too late to go back to the drawing board with Super Mario Run, unfortunately, but the Kyoto, Japan-based game maker is clearly still hoping to get more people on board with Super Mario Run while it continues work on other, Mario-themed iOS games.