The Wall Street Journal reports that only 3% of Super Mario Run players have paid the $9.99 premium to unlock the entire game. The report uses data from gaming-focused market research firm Newzoo.
Downloads numbers for the game are estimated to be in the 90 million range, so a 3% paying customer number still means the game brought in just under $27 million in gross revenue. (Someone correct me if I’m wrong, math was never my forte.)
While a $27 million payday is a nice chunk of change by any measurement, some analysts were expecting gross revenue in the range of $100 million in the first few weeks. Gamers may have been turned off by the lack of free play available in the download, or they were perhaps reluctant to plop down ten bucks for an iOS game, when many popular games are free, or are priced much lower than $10. (However, where else are you going to get a full Super Mario fix for 10 bucks? Any console version of a Mario-themed game will cost 3 to 5 times that.)
Super Mario Run surged to the top of the iOS app charts when it was released in mid-December, due to a heavy marketing push by Apple and Nintendo, and the resulting press coverage. By Christmas, the game was beginning to slip in the standings, and currently sits at #17 on the “Top Grossing” charts, behind such long-in-the-tooth games such as Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga. (Via The Mac Observer)
It remains to be seen if the lackluster buy-in results of Super Mario Run will cause Nintendo and other developers to think twice before releasing a game with a similar revenue model in the future. Developers have traditionally reaped decent financial returns on games released under the free-to-play model, with steady streams of income from both ads and micro-transactions.
(UPDATE) – AppleInsider reports Apple says the WSJ report is inaccurate:
However, AppleInsider reached out to Apple for comment on the matter, and was told by sources within the company that attach rates are “more than 3 percent” and “some wrong assumptions have been made by [NewZoo].”
Apple declined to provide more data on the situation.