Shigeru Miyamoto has been very vocal about his intentions with perhaps the strangest game announcement of the year. Nintendo’s goal for Super Mario Run is to bring an audience of primarily smartphone using gamers to the world of Nintendo. That is without a doubt Nintendo’s most interesting approach to lure customers yet. But does this have the potential to work?
I think it’s crucial for Nintendo to really go over their demographics before putting a lot of eggs into this basket. That’s not to say that Super Mario Run won’t attract attention, because it absolutely will. I think where the game may fall short of expectation is the type of audience it will reach.
Super Mario Run looks like it shares in the appeal of a Sonic Dash or Temple Run as the infinite runner is among the best genres to start with. They have a simple formula that is easy to learn but difficult to master, similar in a lot of ways to the style of classic arcade games.
That being said, there’s a whole subset of people who already love Mario, and are going to play this game simply because of that. If it were coming to Android sooner, I’d be one of those people.
Nintendo already has a large player-base dedicated to mobile handheld platforms thanks to the success of their Nintendo 3DS console. With that being said, the types of people who go out and pursue a Nintendo 3DS to play games on it, and the types of people who are looking for something cute to play on mobile, are simply not the same target audience.
The way Nintendo is going to capture a market is simple. Kids are going to play Super Mario Run on their parent’s platforms, and through that, they will be enticed by the style of Mario. Assuming kids these days aren’t acquainted with the plumber at an early age. I know I was.
Nintendo still has the potential to dive right in and capture a portion of the market, but whether or not things will be exactly what they’re expecting remains to be seen. With the way Pokemon Go captured the hearts of players, there’s a shot, but we don’t want another Miitomo that just gets forgotten after a week or two.
Still, best of luck to them, and kudos for taking a step into such unfamiliar territory. Maybe we’ll see a free 3DS port of the game for all of us Nintendo loyalists to play.