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Nintendo jumps as public gets first taste of Super Mario Run
[TOKYO] Nintendo Co rose to the highest in more than four months after starting to market its upcoming Super Mario Run smartphone game that will include a chance for fans to try out the game on iPhones in Apple Inc stores ahead of its Dec 15 release.
The stock climbed 3.7 per cent as of midday in Tokyo, the highest since July 19. The shares are about 8 per cent below a six-year peak it hit the same month amid speculative flurry that followed the release of Pokemon Go.
Unlike the hit game, which was created by San Francisco-based Niantic Inc, Super Mario Run is developed 100 per cent at Nintendo. That means most of the proceeds will flow directly to the company. It also means a potential flop would put the blame squarely with headquarters in Kyoto and would represent a major setback to the company's long-awaited push into mobile devices.
So far, at least, reception has been mostly positive. IGN showed that the first three levels will be free to play, but gamers will need to pay US$10 to unlock the remaining 21 levels and other content.
Engadget praised the game's graphics and wrote that "replayability should be excellent." Time said the title is "simple and the gameplay remains rich and addictive," comparing the experience to playing Super Mario games on Nintendo's own consoles. Mic.com wrote the game seemed fairly easy, saying "Mario veterans will be shocked to find that they can run right through enemy goombas." Researcher SensorTower estimated the title will gross US$71 million in the first month and be downloaded by more than 50 million users. In September, the researcher said Pokemon Go was downloaded more than 180 million times in the first two months.
In October, Apple Inc's Tim Cook said more than 20 million people had signed up to be notified once it is available.
Nintendo also began a marketing campaign on television and other media to promote the game: Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto said in an interview with Time that characters besides Mario will be playable, suggesting more variety that will encourage people to replay Super Mario Go.
Nintendo's US head Reggie Fils-Aime appeared on The Tonight Show to promote the game. A video of the segment has been viewed more than 500,000 times in less than 24 hours since it was uploaded.
Separately, Mr Fils-Aime also showed off the first ever live-demo of Nintendo's upcoming console Switch. Fans on social media praised its graphical performance.
In October, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said in an interview that the game would appeal to both adults and children: "In terms of the game itself, you can download it and play a certain part of it, and then pay a fixed price and then play it over and over as many times as you want without having to pay anything extra. And that should give peace of mind that kids can play it. And we're hoping that will help it become more popular."
"Our main business is the hardware/software business. In addition, our smartphone business has helped sell a lot of our existing packages. And it has really proved our original thesis: by releasing our software on the smartphone, it positively impacts our existing hardware and software business. And that's precisely the synergy effect we were expecting. And as that has been proven correct, we have more confidence."