Super Mario Run
Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima says that "Super Mario Run" revenues didn't meet their expectations. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Nintendo’s “Super Mario Run” may have seen early success when it was first released to iOS devices back in December, but it might not be doing so well.

Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima admitted in a recent interview with Nikkei that revenue from the game “did not meet our expectations.” “Super Mario Run” is free to download, but users must pay $9.99 in order to play the full game.

The game was just made available to Android devices yesterday, and it’s expected to boost the number of players. However, Nintendo’s pay-once model might not have helped in boosting its earnings.

Back in December, “Super Mario Run” was downloaded 40 million times in its first four days. By January, the game has already been downloaded 78 million times. Those are huge numbers, but it was also revealed only 5 percent of those people actually paid $9.99 for the game.

Nintendo’s pay-once model has always been cited as the main reason as to why a lot of people didn’t buy the game. There’s also the problem of the game’s requirement: an internet connection. “Super Mario Run” is only playable if users are connected to the internet via WiFi or through their cellular network.

Nintendo’s pay-to-play business model and the game’s requirement to be always online is surely the two biggest factors why a lot of users were disinterested in the game. Although “Super Mario Run” is undoubtedly one of the most fun games on mobile right now, it has received mostly mixed reviews, as pointed out by Polygon.

Is Nintendo planning to switch to the freemium model? The answer, sadly, is no. The company may have released “Fire Emblem Heroes” in February as a freemium game, but that might actually just be a one-off.

“‘Heroes’ is an outlier,” a senior Nintendo official told Nikkei. “We honestly prefer the ‘Super Mario Run’ model.”