Super Mario Run Will Not Match Pokemon GO in Popularity

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Nintendo CEO Tatsumi Kimishima revealed how high Nintendo’s expectations were for Super Mario Run. Indeed, said expectations are so high that Nintendo is actually hoping the Mario auto runner will be as popular as Pokemon GO, and just about as quickly to boot:

In terms of expectations, we all saw what happened when we delivered Pokemon Go. And honestly I was quite surprised by it myself. There’s no doubt that more people are using smartphones to play games. And as this time we’re using Mario, that’s a very important intellectual property for us. And that’s what Miyamoto’s team is working on now: making sure it spreads out just as quickly as Pokemon Go

It’s an impressive target.

Unfortunately for Nintendo though, the chances of this happening are slim to none.


Because Pokemon GO wasn’t just popular because it was based on a popular series. Oh no, it was popular because of the ‘social’ aspect and how that helped with its marketing.

Think about it. To get Pokemon in Pokemon GO, you have to explore the world. You have to go out on the streets or in the fields and actually look for them in real life. You have to hit up popular landmarks for Pokestops. Battling against others takes place in gyms, and requires you to be physically present near the gym,

Pokemon GO Pic 2

Basically, the game is designed to get you outside. Which then basically becomes free marketing for the game. People see others hanging around, and they wonder what the fuss is. Shops and businesses see a huge surge in traffic and wonder where it’s coming from/how to capitalise on it. The press write about the new phenomenon and tons of stories popping up regarding people getting into accidents or trouble because of it.

Give it a bit more time and then everyone knows about it and has downloaded it to try the game out.

But Super Mario Run (by definition) can’t really have this.

It’s got multiplayer yes. It’s likely going to be released in China (which provides a massive audience for the title that Pokemon GO couldn’t tap into), true. And with the Mario brand, it’ll get a ton of downloads.

super mario run

But there’s no social side to it. No free advertising due to seeing people playing the game. There’s limited interaction with others (aka time attack mode). And it’s a paid app with a free demo built in.

So because of that, it just won’t capture the same audience or level of interest. It’s not the kind of app that’s set up for Pokemon GO level success.

Still, the game will do well overall. It’ll attract a ton of downloads, print money for Nintendo and give legions of smartphone gamers a nice little Mario platformer they can pay for a very low price. And at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.


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