Nintendo has announced that Super Mario Run will be available December 15 for iOS devices.
The mobile auto-runner will offer a free trial of three game modes, with the full release selling for $9.99. The app will work on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices running iOS 8.0 or later and will be available in 151 countries and regions on December 15.
Nintendo plans to bring Super Mario Run to Android devices as well but there is no release date at this time.
This is an interesting tactic from Nintendo, because it seems to fly in face of traditional “free-to-play” games that rely on microtransactions to generate revenue. While we don’t know for sure if Super Mario Run will have microtransactions or not, it appears that Nintendo is going with a simpler “try before you buy” model. Basically, they are releasing the game as a demo in the hopes that people will pay for the entire thing if they like it.
The free-to-play model generates millions in revenues, but many people are burnt out on being nickle and dimed to death by buying another pack of gems for $2.99 just to continue playing. There is a large section of gamers who would rather pay up front for good content, and enjoy the game without the artificial obstacles built in to drive sales (or in-game advertisements, for that matter).
If Super Mario Run is fun, has many levels and game modes, and (most importantly) offers the addictive replay value of other endless runners like Jetpack Joyride or Temple Run, we certainly won’t mind ponying up ten bucks to play the whole thing.
Early predictions for Super Mario Run have the game pegged at one billion downloads, with Nintendo claiming last month that they are working to make it as popular as Pokemon Go.