This is Super Mario Run, an endless runner staring one of gamings most iconic figures, which will release on December 15th for the iPhone and iPad. This is the first time that a flagship Nintendo studio has developed a game for a third party platform. (While they have already seen one of their brands have wild success on mobile, it was made by a developer outside of Nintendo.)
This is a big deal. Nintendo has been struggling to find a hardware successor to the Wii, and while they continue to try new ideas with their own consoles, it's this first venture into putting their ultra-valuable IP's on mobile devices that has me really excited.
Here is iconic video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, you may know him as the creator of some of gamings biggest franchises, such as Mario and Zelda, speaking with The Verge about his hopes for Super Mario Run:
“Super Mario Run is going to introduce millions of more people to the fun of Mario, and it’ll become the entry point for them,” Miyamoto explains. “And then the question becomes, once you’ve gone through that entry point, then what comes next? Is it a more traditional Mario experience? Is it something like the Mario Galaxy games? We’ll then have to look at what it is these new fans want from a Mario game, and we’ll continue to see Mario evolve in that way.”
It's not just that releasing games from first party franchises will bring in new customers, although that is a huge selling point. By putting their games on devices that tens of millions of people walk around every day with, they have a huge opportunity to sell to people who are no longer buying video game consoles, but will play games on their phone.
I'm still a fairly avid gamer, but I doubt I will ever own a flagship Nintendo console again. Although if anyone would like to get me this little guy for Christmas I probably wouldn't complain. Still, the idea of being able to play a game Mario or Animal Crossing on my phone sounds great. For years Nintendo has been a very conservative company. To see them finally experiment with new distribution models for their incredible software is a good thing. This extra source of revenue frees them to keep experimenting with their own hardware, while continuing to add to some of the biggest brands in popular culture.