The most memorable part of The Tonight Show this week was when Jimmy Fallon got to play Zelda on a Nintendo Switch, but it wasn’t the only new Nintendo product present on the show. Before the Switch unveiling, we got a brief look at Super Mario Run; the first mobile game to feature Nintendo’s famous plumber.
Super Mario Run is launching on iOS next week, but won’t be available on Android until 2017. It’s a single-player, side-scrolling, auto-runner platformer, which means the player can play using a single finger because everything is done automatically except for jumping (performed with a screen tap). The challenge comes from collecting as many coins as possible as well as finding special coins within each level.
Refreshingly, Super Mario Run has no in-app purchases. There’s a demo consisting of three levels available for free, and the full, paid-for game priced at $9.99. However, there’s one additional barrier to play beyond the price. Nintendo decided to only allow the game to be played if an active Internet connection is maintained. If you happen to travel somewhere your iPhone or iPad loses its signal, Super Mario Run can’t be played.
Mashable had a chat with legendary Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto, and they took the opportunity to ask him why Super Mario Run required an Internet connection to play. He responded by saying, “For us, we view our software as being a very important asset for us. And also for consumers who are purchasing the game, we want to make sure that we’re able to offer it to them in a way that the software is secure, and that they’re able to play it in a stable environment.”
When asked to clarify if by saying “security” he meant “piracy”, Miyamoto responded, “That’s correct.” He also explains that security is the reason Nintendo chose to launch on iOS first. Clearly the company views it as a more secure platform than Android.
So what we have is very simple gameplay wrapped in high resolution Mario visuals that has no reason to require a constant Internet connection beyond trying to combat piracy. And that’s piracy we all know will happen anyway. Legitimate players will end up being the ones who suffer from this decision by having to visit a power outlet more often.