Nintendo Tumbles After Super Mario Run Draws Tepid Reviews

Updated on
  • Shares down a fifth straight day as mobile game disappoints
  • Lukewarm reviews mar Nintendo’s foray into smartphones

Off and Running: Super Mario Goes Mobile

Nintendo Co. plummeted in Tokyo after the debut of Super Mario Run was met by lukewarm reviews.

Nintendo’s new game Super Mario Run.

Source: Nintendo Co.

The stock slid 7.1 percent Monday, bringing its losses since the game’s debut last week to more than 11 percent. Nintendo’s partner DeNA Co., which helped with the game’s development, dropped 14 percent in the same period.

Super Mario Run was supposed to be a watershed moment for Nintendo, marking its first full foray into the world of mobile gaming. But the title, for now available only on Apple Inc. devices, had nearly 50,000 reviews in the U.S. App Store, with an average rating of two and a half stars out of five. That’s among the lowest for apps at the top of download rankings, and below other popular smartphone games like Clash Royale or Candy Crush Saga. 

Nintendo has also been criticized for the cost of the game, which is free to download and play the first three levels but costs $10 for the full version -- a heftier price tag than the popular Minecraft.

“Investor expectations were very strong,” said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute. “There are a lot of people writing on the App Store that Super Mario Run isn’t very fun. Perhaps expectations were too high.”

Super Mario Run features the company’s iconic mustachioed plumber running across a scrolling landscape to rescue Princess Peach. Its release is the first test of what the Japanese game maker can achieve after years of eschewing the thriving mobile-app market. While Nintendo gave a hint of its potential with the success of Pokemon Go, that title was only partly its own creation.

Super Mario Run was developed mainly by Nintendo, with some assistance from partner DeNA. Expectations had mounted since the Kyoto-based company announced a strategic shift toward embracing mobile in March 2015.

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