Super Mario Run free to play mockup 001

A recent Nintendo survey asked a subset of Super Mario Run players who linked the game with their My Nintendo account how much they’d be willing to pay for the full game.

As you know, Super Mario Run can be downloaded at no charge, but a $9.99 upgrade is required to remove the restrictions from the three game modes and unlock its content beyond the first four levels of World 1.

Some people were so disgruntled with the high upgrade price that they wrote poor reviews on App Store, causing Nintendo’s share price to fall. Wouldn’t it be great if Super Mario Run was a free to play title like Pokémon GO is? Well, PocketGamer took it upon itself to create some very illustrative mockups that imagine the parallel universe where Super Mario Run is free to play.

For starters, the free-to-play model would probably limit Mario’s energy.

That, in turn, would be a great excuse to put a prompt asking you to pay up every time Mario runs out of energy. You’d be cunningly offered to wait around rather than purchase an energy upgrade because smart developers know players hate to wait.

PocketGamer didn’t pull those mockups out of thin air: they’re based on common IAP limitations in free-to-play games like Candy Crush, Asphalt and many others.

In all likelihood, the reliance on the free-to-play model would result in a lot harder game. The more often you died, the more likely you’d be to cough up cold hard cash to continue playing uninterrupted.

Or perhaps you’d rather watch a pesky ad before you could try again?

Super Mario Run free to play mockup 002

In the free-to-play Super Mario Run version you’d also have a persistent bubble collection, as opposed to receiving two bubbles when you start a level. As soon as you used Mario’s bubbles up, you’d be pushed to top them up via—you guessed right—In-App Purchases.

And with many, many other paid boosts potentially sold as In-App Purchases, the free-to-play Super Mario Run would definitely “destroy any sense of competition and make the leaderboards a farce,” in PocketGamer’s own words.

Now, you take a really close look at those screenshots and you tell me with a straight face that you’d happily play Super Mario Run with all of the nagging restrictions of the freemium model. Seriously, would you really rather play Super Mario Run if it were a free-to-play game than pay ten bucks to enjoy everything it offers, like today?

Is this what you really wanted? Be careful what you wish for.

Source: PocketGamer

  • diggitydang

    Does anyone know if I pay this fee, whether I’ll have to pay again on another device? I have a Nintendo account now with my kids added as family members… will my one purchase cover all the other devices too?

    If anyone knows, I’d really appreciate some input. Thanks in advance!

    • ListenUpGuys

      It’s fine. There’s a lot of BS on the internet about this. Don’t believe everything you read.

      Even iDB has a BS paragraph about this. Shame on them.

      But it won’t work with Family Sharing because it’s an IAP. You need to use the same iTunes account.

      • diggitydang

        That’s crap. Thanks for the info though.

    • Raffa

      Only way this works is to temporarily login with your itunes account at the other device(s) and make the IAP purchase.
      It’s a real pain in the butt if you ask me and absolutely anti-consumer. They punish those who purchase the game for 9.99€ because they somehow have to offer a free download. Plus it’s online only because of “pirates”.

      • diggitydang

        That’s crappy. $10 is one thing. $40-$50 for multiple devices is absurd.

        Thanks for letting me know though.

      • Steve Harold

        I have all my devices on same account and works fine.

      • derrick mcdonald

        yeah same

  • Ds

    I do feel like $10 is a little steep of a asking price for any game. Though yes I did pay the $10. I feel like $5 would have been a more fair price.

    • ListenUpGuys

      Most Mario games are $60 and only a little bit longer. They’re also far less original these days. So what makes you think $10 is too much while $5 would be OK?

      • Ds

        Sorry I wasn’t very clear in my comment. I feel like $10 is to much for game that is a app. I still paid the $10. Why do I think $10 is to much for it? No real reason other than personal preference. If I had to pick a reason… because it’s an app and not a actual console game where you can get resale or trade in value on games.

      • Raffa

        I think many people compare it to the competition in the app store which is fair game if you ask me. Though it’s up to debate what pricing system is the only “right” way to go – if it wasn’t for Nintendo and the Mario name, it would have been an utter disaster to sell a game like that for 9,99€.

        But again, having the position that Nintendo has gives them power to enforce prices as high as they like – but one can still criticize that.

      • ListenUpGuys

        I think you’re right. People are comparing the price of the game to other apps, instead of to other games in the NSMB series. This explains the divided opinion over the pricing. Personally I think the price is about right. I don’t want to see Nintendo sell out and make games like the one shown in this article.

      • nathan stout

        I think the OP’s(Raffa) point was quite the opposite actually. Most people are trying to justify the price by comparing it to those on a console. The game is not a console game and should instead be compared to the apps, prices, and competition within the App Store. I personally believe Nintendo is being a little greedy and using the Mario name to squeeze ten dollars out of us for a mediocre game at best. Even those free-to-play games such as Candy Crush as they mentioned, have far more levels than Super Mario Run.

      • Digitalfeind

        Lmao. You are comparing a physical game with a digital game. Even those digital games are a completely different type of game. Look at the Sonic games and other games that are full ports of their original games. This is just a glorified runner game.

      • ListenUpGuys

        Laugh your ass off at yourself. There’s no such thing as physical video game. They’re all digital and you can buy the console releases via download as well, at full price.
        Super Mario Run plays just like all the other New Super Mario Bros. games, except that Mario moves automatically. The difference is trivial. Maybe you could explain why you found this game to be so wildly different that it should be almost given away?
        The Sonic ports play terribly on mobile precisely because they haven’t been optimised for the platform. Or are you actually advocating mobile games with mandatory Bluetooth game pads? Those games are cheap because they are old: they just run in an emulator, they weren’t re-written. Ducktales ReMastered was re-written and it launched at $10 on mobile, the same as Super Mario Run.

      • Digitalfeind

        h never mind that cd’s and cartridges are still made. Never mind the fact I mentioned anything about the price. Never mind I mention controllers either. Stop trying to fish.

        But if you want to compare other games that are or were $9.99 or cheaper and are full fledged games I can name a lot for you. KOTOR, Black Ops Zombies, Oceanhorn, X-Men, all the Lego games, all the GTA games, FIFA, all the Predator games, all the N.O.V.A. games, Minecraft, etc…

        Super Mario Run is a basic game compared to any and all of those I mentioned.

      • ListenUpGuys

        The medium that the game is distributed on is irrelevant. Your poorly-phrased argument seems to be that downloaded games (“digital” games) are somehow inferior to games on physical media (“physical” games) and this was in response to a pricing observation. So you think downloadable games should be cheaper because they’re downloadable? Because they’re on mobile? You haven’t made a clear argument. The price is related to the development time and expected sales, not the platform. Fish? For what? Your ignorance (and inability to form sentences that aren’t the opposite of what you mean) is plain as day. I’ll put it down to typing errors for now.

        Usually games in the NSMB series cost way more than those games on your new list, so why are you complaining that this one doesn’t cost more? This is the cheapest launch price for any game in the series, and it’s the most original by far. It’s a breath of fresh air for a series that had become stale, it’s 5x cheaper than usual, and you don’t have to lug around a separate device to play it.

        And none of the games you listed launched at $10. They all went down in price over time. Get a grip on reality.

        What EXACTLY are you complaining about? Did you want it for free? You poor thing, being expected to pay for other people’s work. I almost forgot what site I’m on. You probably jailbreak and pirate everything you have. Now I understand why you’re mad: they put DRM in and you can’t take it without paying.

      • Digitalfeind

        I’m sorry I was replying to your fallacies. That where your misguided rant stems from. And if you re-read what I wrote it is clear. If you cannot understand what I wrote that is your stupidity. You make claims that I jailbreak and pirate as if that has any bearing on any of this. Once again you are using a fallacy to justify your failed logic.

      • ListenUpGuys

        I read it carefully as I was replying to each one. Maybe you should proof read what you type. It’s still there for you to check and be embarrassed by.
        I don’t think you know what a fallacy is. Google it and then try to find one. It is not an opinion that you disagree with. Are you saying I made some factual mistakes? Please quote one if so.
        My suggestion that you jailbreak to pirate didn’t “justify” anything. You are not the centre of the topic. Read it again: it’s an observation. What argument do you think it’s supporting? If you have to reply could you at least make ONE concrete sentence with some foundation or relevance?
        It’s ironic that you end on the word “logic” when that’s something you’re showing yourself to have no understanding of. Words mean stuff. If you can’t understand them that’s no-one’s problem but yours.
        All this because you can’t explain why you think Mario Run is… is what? You haven’t said anything.

      • Smegmatron

        This is flappy bird on steroids

      • Which Mario game us $60?

      • Blip dude

        I can get that same Mario game for $40-$45 on eBay new and if having patience isn’t an issue it will eventually go down to $20-$30 brand new over time. This game will always be $10.

        Also, most mario games are more than just a little longer than this one (Super Mario Galaxy games as an example). This game is about as long as monument valley with the IAP’s, don’t think it’s worth the $10.

    • Wilber Alexander Flores

      Lol $10 in Canada it was like $14

  • Aaron de Silva

    Freemium games are annoying. I would rather a one time fee then
    1) In-App Purchases
    2) Constant Ads
    3) Time Based Unlocks/Lives
    4) Pay to Win

  • the problem is not the cost, the problem is that the game just sucks.

  • burge

    Sorry to say but it’s up to Nintendo on what it would look like if it was free and why would it look and different than it does now. How can a 3rd party make this sort of assumption, what input did they have in the app anyway. That’s like saying if I turned right 3 months ago the app would look different to how it does now. This is the best BS one can come up with.

  • Der Faust

    pople have become so cheap when it comes to apps…. 9.99 is a fair price. We have gotten used to crap IAP games(hiding in the guise of “free”)…Mario Run is a decent game for its cost… but then again i have noticed people getting pissed because of an app costing .99, 1.99, 2.99, 3.99, etc…….i know, buy a chest of gems or something for 4.99 so you don’t have to wait for some stupid clock to wind down….and then buy it again in a few days….rinse and repeat.

    • Mike M. Powell

      Truly truly cheap people are the true ones complaining. I’d pay $15 for the game instead just to add more butt-hurt to the crowd….

      P.S: Shigeru Miyamoto is my dad so I gotta support him

    • Florencia Avila

      I’m pissed because they are ARS 150 thank you

  • P1nGu1n0

    My problem is internet connection, I have not had any connection issues but it is annoying to know that I need it. Other than that the game is great for me. I have played Mario from old to new gen consoles, I believe it is worth $9.99.

  • Agneev Mukherjee

    I’d pay the 10 bucks, but for all the levels and for those in future too.

    • Natalie

      Same. $10 for all future updates

      • Agneev Mukherjee

        Are you sure because the IAP states “All 6 Worlds – $9.99”.
        So what happens after the 6th world?

        Best Regards,
        Agneev Mukherjee

      • techfreak23

        I think he was agreeing with you man. I don’t think he was saying that’s how it is currently.

  • nathan stout

    I personally think this is a broken argument. The game needs to be compared to the competition and the competition in this case is not other console games but other apps on the App Store. I could say the that I’m also not paying the $3-5 most other games are being sold at on the App Store.

    • techfreak23

      Umm your argument is broken… You’ve never seen a $10 game or app on the App Store before? All of the GTA games are about $7 or $8

      • Raffa

        GTA as a 30+ hour experience? Yeah, that game is pretty much out of the league.

      • techfreak23

        GTA San Andreas by itself costs $7. My point is that there is different value for different games. GTA is an intensive experience and some might justify its price more, but this is Nintendo’s FIRST venture into the mobile game space with the most iconic IP in their portfolio. I think they’re pretty justified in asking for $10 for the game, especially since they built it from the ground up and it isn’t a port.

      • James G

        Not to mention, GTA is a port to iOS. Not a fully developed game. A much better example is Oceanhorn. That game was $7.99 (I think) and was incredible value for the price and made specifically for App Store (just like Mario Run was, not a port).

      • techfreak23

        Yeah that was part of my point. Most of those other games from consoles are ports. Very little effort involved compared to building something from scratch.

  • Jamessmooth

    People are actually REQUESTING an IAP model? No way.

  • Chris Chedrawi

    I’ve read so many different views on this topic, but I still think $9.99 for a very short game that needs Internet connection at all times is expensive. The truth is, there IS competition and I was slightly disappointed with the overall game.

  • People don’t realize it yet. You’re not paying just for Mario but for Pokémon go and Mario since Pokémon go is free as hell and doesn’t really require any spending at all play.

    • Florencia Avila


  • Adan

    Super Mario Run *IS* free to play!
    It’s not the worst, but it’s not the best one either. And it is too much money for what it is, a very short auto runner. I’d happily pay a lot more money for a ‘proper’ Mario game, but not for this thing!

  • Mallowigi

    That’s BS. I’d rather pay everytime I need than paying full price upfront.

    Listen, we are not in New Super Mario Bros iOS, we are in freaking SUPER MARIO RUN, e.g. a game when you only have to touch to finish a level! There are PLENTY of endless runners: Jetpack Joyride and Robot Unicorn are the most popular, as well as Sonic, Rayman, the Smurfs etc. Does anyone of them asks for 10 $? NO!

    I would pay 10 $ for New Super Mario Bros iOS (theoretically, because I would not pay 10$ for an iOS game anyway), if it gives me fresh new content and let me play with Mario, not jump with him. Not for some runner.

    And about the iAP version: I concur that if we sum up all purchases made at one point to finish a level, we could easily overcome the 10$. Hell, I’ve already paid at least 100$ for Candy Crush! But here’s the thing: if I don’t want to pay to finish a level in Candy Crush, I TOTALLY COULD! And try again (and if I’m out of lives, I can just go back to the real life and come back when I have to go to poop again)

    So yeah, If I’m struggling with a level in Super Mario Run, and I got prompted to pay to unlock a Leaf or whatever, I can pay 1$ for it, or 3$ for a bundle. That’s totally okay. But upfront? Nah.

    Also, iOS games are rarely games that are kept for a long time, unlike console games. So if I paid 10$ and got bored after a week after finishing 10 levels, it would appear that I had just spent 10$ on 10 freaking levels, which is unforgivable.

  • derrick mcdonald

    cmon guys its nintendo lol they try their hardest to stop people using emulators so they can than sale all the games you were already getting free for like $5 and up.i did pay the $14.99 (australia) but we shouldn’t expect anything less. i mean if ya idevice is jailbroken they put things in place to stop you from playing the game because they think they will lose $$$ thanks to thinks like IAP crackers. my n3ds is still hacked tho i love donkey kong country free lol

  • JohnLocke27

    Wow, so many cheap people out there. It’s $10 not $10K. Get a life.

  • Florencia Avila

    Well, they are already ARS $ 150 thank you very much. Sorry but 10 dollars isn’t cheap for me.