TOKYO • Nintendo will release Super Mario Run worldwide for Apple's iPhone and iPad on Dec 15 in United States time zones, a highly anticipated launch that has a high bar for success after this year's Pokemon Go phenomenon.
The game, the first mobile edition starring one of Nintendo's most iconic characters, will be free to download initially and include an optional one-off payment of US$9.99 (S$14) to unlock all features.
In addition to English and Japanese, the game will be available in several other languages, Nintendo said in a statement on Tuesday.
The model of luring players with a free version and then a one- time price is "a great strategy by Nintendo", said Mr Neil Campling, an analyst at Northern Trust Capital Markets. Many successful mobile games have seen annual spending of US$100 a year per gamer, he said.
"To set a low incentive and then a low total cost when engaged could set Nintendo on a differentiated path, which ultimately could be a game changer," he added.
Nintendo's shares rose 2.4 per cent to 25,445 yen in Tokyo. The stock is up more than 50 per cent this year, compared with a 6 per cent decline in the Nikkei 225 Index.
Super Mario Run marks the first time Nintendo's popular franchise is appearing on a smartphone. Mr Shigeru Miyamoto, one of the creators of the original Mario game, gave a short demonstration of the game at Apple's annual iPhone event in September.
The release follows this year's wildly successful Pokemon Go, which was developed for iOS and Android by San Francisco-based Niantic with Nintendo's help and has been downloaded hundreds of millions of times, according to the game's creator.
It will also beat Nintendo's forthcoming home game console, the Switch, to market by several months.