There’s no nice way to say this, so I might as well just say it outright: mobile gamers have a reputation for being cheap and stingy. Is it deserved? Sadly, I think it probably is. I mean, despite the fact that the average premium game on the App Store costs less than a Starbucks’ coffee these days, I still frequently see people saying things like, “looks great…but too expensive” or “meh, I’ll wait for it to drop in price/go free.” And that, folks, is why iOS as a gaming platform is in a lot worse shape quality-wise than it was a few years ago.
I bring this up because Nintendo’s announcement this week that Super Mario Run will contain a premium unlock IAP — priced at $9.99 — seems to have caused a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth in certain iOS gaming communities. To be honest, I find all this consternation against Super Mario Run costing ten bucks baffling, especially since the only real alternative to Nintendo charging a fair price for the game is that it be free-to-play and full of ads, timers, IAPs, and other irritating, fun-sapping crap like that. Given the choice, I’d always prefer to pay a one-off upfront fee for a game, rather than get nickel-and-dimed to death by it later. I also don’t ever want to see Nintendo devalue their iconic characters by sticking them in crummy FTP titles.
So why are people so outraged about having to pay for what looks to be a quality game? Well — aside from the obvious explanation that they’re simply irredeemable cheapskates (who somehow happen to own expensive iPhones and iPads) — I’ve seen the fact that Super Mario Run is an auto-runner brought up repeatedly as a sore point. As if that makes it less worthy of a premium price. If you think this, you should check out Rayman Jungle Run, Lost Socks: Naughty Brothers and Super Powerboy, all of which are auto-runners and all of which are great. Okay, none of those games costs quite as much as Super Mario Run will (from what I recall most launched at around the $4.99 price point), but they also don’t star a character as big as Mario and they weren’t made by companies with track records as glowing as Nintendo’s is.
Anyway, rant over. Super Mario Run will hit the App Store on December 15th for the very reasonable price of free to try/$9.99 to buy… and I’ll eat my hat if it isn’t the biggest release of the holidays and one of the most successful iOS games ever.