It appears that Mario's brief adventure into the world of mobile gaming has come to an end.
Mario's brief foray into the mobile game market has seemingly come to an end. Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed this in an interview with Variety, saying that "mobile apps will not be the primary path of future Mario games."
In 2016, Nintendo entered the mobile market with Super Mario Run for iOS and Android, which was downloaded 90 million times within weeks. This success led to the creation of two more Mario mobile games, Dr. Mario World and Mario Kart Tour, released in 2019. However, Dr. Mario World was shut down and delisted, making it the only one of the three titles to meet this fate.
Speaking to Variety, Miyamoto admitted that adapting the series for mobile platforms was challenging due to the more generic and ubiquitous nature of phones compared to consoles.
"First and foremost, Nintendo’s core strategy is a hardware and software integrated gaming experience. The intuitiveness of the control is a part of the gaming experience," Miyamoto said. "When we explored the opportunity of making Mario games for the mobile phone – which is a more common, generic device – it was challenging to determine what that game should be."
Despite the challenges, Miyamoto, however, acknowledged that bringing the Mario franchise to phones allowed the brand to expand and reach audiences who may not have been able to afford or had an interest in owning a Nintendo console.
Nintendo has released almost 20 mobile games to date, but not all of them have been equally successful. Titles like Pokémon Go and Fire Emblem Heroes have been among the most popular ones. However, some games failed to meet the company's expectations, resulting in five of them being completely discontinued.
Still, Mario has been a well-established and successful franchise on home consoles and handhelds, so it may not be necessary to replicate that success on phones. The franchise is currently thriving in terms of both popularity and revenue, especially with the upcoming release of The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
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