The Japanese firm’s first mobile game was downloaded more than 40 million times in just four days on Apple’s App Store, the companies said, setting a new record for a single app over that period of time.
Nintendo shares, however, have continued the fall that began after the game came out last week. They dropped 3.8% on Thursday, bringing the total decline since Mario debuted on Apple devices to more than 14%.
Super Mario Run’s high price tag appears to be a sticking point. After downloading the game, only a tiny portion of users forked over the one-time $9.99 fee to unlock all of its levels, according to industry analysts.
Data collected by mobile analytics firm App Annie showed that the game earned only $14 million in three days despite 37 million downloads, indicating that only about four out of every 100 users coughed up the one-off fee.
Another analytics firm, Sensor Tower, said the fourth day saw earnings rise above $21 million worldwide. But that would mean only 5% of the roughly 40 million people who downloaded the game paid for the extra levels.
Mario is also getting plenty of negative feedback. The game has 2½ stars out of a possible 5 in the U.S. App Store, with only about half of reviewers giving it a positive rating.
“10 bucks Nintendo? I know you’re relatively new to the App Store — but do some research!” a review by a user named Solosoul said.
Ahead of the game’s launch, analysts were skeptical Super Mario Run would be a game changer for Nintendo, questioning the decision to release it only on iPhones and iPads as well as the one-off charge.
Super Mario Run did not adopt the popular “freemium” model, where users don’t pay for the game but have to make repeated in-app purchases to access more features. Clash of Clans and Clash Royale — two of the most successful freemium mobile games in the world — each rake in about $1 billion a year.
Peter Warman, CEO of market research firm Newzoo, estimated before Super Mario Run was released that the game would generate $100 million in gross revenues in the first month.
But it is unlikely to sustain that kind of revenue after the initial rush of die-hard Mario fans, which was buttressed by a big push from Apple.