Koichi Hayashida, director of the successful Super Mario 3D Land, talked about Nintendo’s most important franchise. Of course we’re talking about Mario games. The plumber’s endless success is due, according to Koichi, to the combination of the old signs of the series and the exploitation of Nintendo’s hardware and its unique possibilities. One of the key elements is that every time we offer new hardware, it’s its unique technological capabilities that allow us to offer new playable combinations that are familiar to this universe. These allow us to make something new that is very special with that hardware. It’s the combination of the familiar and the new that keeps people fresh.
He also had time to talk about the importance of Miyamoto-san’s ideas in the series. Of course Miyamoto-san is not retiring in the short term, and I have to say that I will work as hard as I can on games now and in the future, but Nintendo is built on a lot of great ideas, many of which have been provided by Miyamoto-san himself. We are very concerned about these ideas, and we strive to understand and use them in our work. We also do our best to offer these ideas to the next generation of developers, and that’s an ongoing process.
Why people like Super Mario so much?
Super Mario 3D Land for Nintendo 3DS has already sold more than five million copies and boosted sales of the console, but which is your favourite Mario? The figures show that the decision was the right one: it’s been downloaded 40 million times in these few days, surpassing the already staggering quota established by Pokémon Go (a game associated with Nintendo, but not properly developed by them). Of course, downloading something for free doesn’t have as much merit as paying for it, which is necessary in Super Mario Run if you want to play the whole game.
Nintendo hasn’t published the numbers of those who bought the game, so it’s difficult to establish a player retention percentage. Since most mobile video games are free or don’t come at a very high price (3 euros is expensive in this market), it’s no wonder that some people’s response has been negative. The AppStore reviews page is full of opinions against Nintendo for putting such a high price.
Add to that the response from investors: Nintendo has gone down in the stock market once again, precisely because users are complaining and because they don’t value the figures issued by the company as much as the noise that has been generated around the price of the game.
Nintendo has been struggling for 10 years, without recovering the amazing sales figures and stock market value achieved with Wii, the motion control console that captivated players less accustomed to traditional consoles and who were not yet going to make the leap to Angry Birds, Candy Crush and mobile phones and still would not make the leap to Angry Birds, Candy Crush and mobile phones.
Wii U has been an absolute failure at the level of sales and Nintendo 3DS has had it more difficult than its predecessor, Nintendo DS, to operate in the market for handheld consoles because of the smartphones, which have dominated this format with simple and free games.