Super Mario Run doesn’t arrive for another few days, but when it does, you’ll need a constant internet connection to play the game. In an interview with Mashable, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed that due to piracy concerns, the latest installment of Mario doesn’t have an offline mode. The company is worried about piracy because the game will be available in 150 countries on devices that it doesn’t have direct control over.
“For us, we view our software as being a very important asset for us,” Miyamoto explained to Mashable. “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.”
The constant network connection will not only be used to save progress, but it will also sync that saved info across devices. Nintendo apparently wanted to make the World Tour available offline, but the technical hurdles to doing so and having it still play nice with the Toad Rally and Kingdom modes proved problematic.
“We wanted to be able to leverage that network connection with all three of the modes to keep all of the modes functioning together and offering the game in a way that keeps the software secure,” Miyamoto continued. “This is something that we want to continue to work on as we continue to develop the game.”
In a statement to Engadget, Nintendo said that Super Mario Run’s online connection allows it to “enhance the play experience.” An internet connection provides access to scores from other players’ Toad Rally challenges and handles new in-game events while you’re playing. The company also reiterated that being constantly connected lets users to link to a Nintendo Account so that saved progress can sync across all of their iOS devices. You know, if you need to switch from your iPad to your iPhone for some reason.
Super Mario Run arrives for iPhone and iPad on December 15th. While the game is free to download, you’ll need to hand over $10 to unlock all of its levels. Of course, with no offline mode, you won’t be able to play during your next flight or on a commute that takes you underground. Here’s Nintendo’s full statement on the matter:
Online connectivity allows us to offer a variety of features and services that enhance the play experience. Super Mario Run is not a static experience, but rather one that players can continue to return to again and again to enjoy something new and unexpected. For example, online connectivity can offer the following:
- Access to other users’ play data and scores for automatically generated Toad Rally challenges.
- In-game events that will offer players new challenges and rewards for a limited time.
- Linkage to Nintendo Account to access save data from multiple devices. For example, if players have Super Mario Run on their iPhone and iPad, they can share one save file across the different devices. However, this save data cannot be used with different devices at the same time.
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Shigeru Miyamoto has confirmed that Nintendo’s upcoming iPhone game Super Mario Run will require an always-on internet connection to play, which Miyamoto said is “a requirement that’s been built into the game to support security.” The security element is one of the big reasons why the company decided to launch on iPhone first, Miyamoto said, and it helps the game’s three separate modes function together while always keeping the software secure and safe, preventing piracy in the process (via Mashable).
Creating a standalone “World Tour” mode without the need for an internet connection was discussed, but the developers found that needing to reconnect to the internet when jumping back to the other two modes — “Toad Rally” and “Kingdom Builder” — complicated things. “And because those two modes are relying on the network save, we had to integrate the World Tour mode as well,” Miyamoto said, through a translation by Nintendo’s senior product marketing manager Bill Trinen.
I learned today that Super Mario Run requires an internet connection to play. What’s the reason for that? Are there any thoughts about an offline mode?
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.
We wanted to be able to leverage that network connection with all three of the [Super Mario Run] modes to keep all of the modes functioning together and offering the game in a way that keeps the software secure. This is something that we want to continue to work on as we continue to develop the game.
When asked specifically what the company’s concerns were about security on mobile devices, Miyamoto confirmed the risk of piracy facing Super Mario Run since it’s not launching on a dedicated Nintendo console. “We’re launching in 150 countries and each of those countries has different network environments and things like that,” Miyamoto said. “So it was important for us to be able to have it secure for all users.”
Super Mario Run is now under a week away from launch, with its debut coming next Thursday, December 15. The rest of Mashable’s interview with Miyamoto can be read here.
Tags: Nintendo, Super Mario Run
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We knew a Starbucks collaboration with Pokémon Go was on the way, but now it’s official. Niantic, the developer of the massively popular augmented reality game, revealed today that around 7,800 Starbucks coffee shops in the US have been turned into Gyms or Pokéstops. Aside from this, since these are sponsored locations after all, trainers can also pick up a special Pokémon Go Frappuccino drink. And, just like you can do at Sprint stores now, you’ll have access to a charging station too.
Whatever you do, remember to be aware of your surroundings while you’re trying to catch ’em all. Because you never know who may be creeping on you. That’s no joke.
Hey, good morning! Last night, Nintendo showed off the Switch and its debut mobile Super Mario game, Microsoft laid down some big plans for 2017 and 10,000 Sprint stores are turning into PokéStops.
Nintendo successfully built a “Mario” title that makes perfect sense on a phonePreview: “Super Mario Run”
We’ve played Nintendo’s first real smartphone game (and so can you — starting today a demo is available at your local Apple Store) and can confirm: it’s just as much fun as everyone hoped it would be. We’ve played Nintendo’s first real smartphone game (and so can you — starting today a demo is available at your local Apple Store) and can confirm: it’s just as much fun as everyone hoped it would be. “Super Mario Run” integrates the character’s traditional gameplay into an auto-runner format, as players tap the screen to make him jump, hover or wall-jump through the levels. Once that’s mastered, the Toad Rally multiplayer system adds a surprising level of depth. Interested? The $9.99 game arrives on iOS December 15th (Android next year), and as Reggie Fils-Aime explains, it’s just the beginning.
It’s going to be an interesting year
Microsoft’s big plans for VR, AR and Windows 10 on ARM
Microsoft’s plans for 2017 are coming into focus, and they’re going to involve using the words “mixed reality” repeatedly. First, it’s released recommended PC specs for using those $300 Windows VR headsets on the way from Dell, HP and Lenovo. There’s also a Project Evo in the works with Intel to deliver systems ready for 4K gaming, Windows Hello and smooth mixed-reality experiences like HoloLens.
Finally, it’s readying a version of Windows 10 that runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon mobile CPUs. Don’t think of this as another stripped-down Windows RT effort however — it’s a full OS, capable of running both legacy x86 Windows programs and newer universal apps. The first PCs using it could be on their way as soon as next year.
Finally, a reason to go to a phone store.
Sprint stores are turning into PokéStops and Gyms
10,000 locations are being added to the US’ Pokemon Go world — and they’re all Sprint stores. It’s the country’s first sponsored location deal, and it’s unlikely to be the last. Don’t forget: new Pokemon are coming.
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Like iMessages but with no obligatory iPhone
T-Mobile Digits brings calls and texts to all your devices
The Uncarrier’s new Digits program lets you add multiple numbers to your phone, and then use them across all your devices. Those who join the trial will need to have at least Android 5.0 or iOS 9 installed on their phones, and/or Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome on their Macs or PCs, but then your texts and calls will work across all said compatible devices.
It’s selling faster than the PS3 did.
Sony has sold 50 millions PS4s and PS4 Pros
Console gaming continues to power on. Combining PS4, PS4 Pro and the new slim version console sales, Sony has sold 50 million consoles in just over three years. In comparison, it took the company over four years to hit the same milestone with the PS3.
But wait, there’s more…
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iOS devices in brick-and-mortar Apple Stores around the world are running playable demos of Nintendo’s highly anticipated Super Mario Run from today, December 7, for those eager to get an early taster of the new game.
The announcement was made by Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime on Wednesday evening’s The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, during which a playable version of the company’s upcoming Switch console was also shown.
Super Mario Run is Nintendo’s first major attempt to crack mobile gaming and is the first of many titles planned for the platform. Driven by its iconic character, the game is expected to generate millions of dollars in revenue for the company. Engadget has posted a remarkably positive hands-on of the free runner title for anyone interested to learn more.
Super Mario Run is set to debut on the App Store on December 15 for iPhone and iPad. The game will be a free download with a $10 in-app purchase required to unlock the full content.
Tags: Nintendo, Super Mario Run
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It’s no stretch to say that Super Mario Run (launching December 15th for iOS; an Android version will arrive next year) is one of the most notable mobile games in years. It’s Nintendo’s first real smartphone game and one of the only instances in which the company has developed a Mario game for non-Nintendo hardware. It’s the first of several mobile titles planned and could mark the start of a major business shift for Nintendo. But let’s put aside all these heady concerns about what Super Mario Run means for the company and answer the most important question: Is the game fun?
Based on the all-too-brief demo I had earlier this week, the answer is a resounding yes. With Super Mario Run, Nintendo has successfully built a Mario title that makes perfect sense for a mobile phone while still featuring surprisingly deep gameplay and a level of polish seen in a small percentage of games, regardless of platform.
The gameplay appears to be identical to what Nintendo first showed off onstage at Apple’s event this past September. Mario runs automatically from left to right, and the player can tap the screen to make him jump. The goal is to get to the end of a course, which seems to take a minute or two, while avoiding death and collecting as many coins as you can.
Naturally, there are a lot of variations on what you can make Mario do here beyond that: Holding longer when you tap makes him jump higher; you can tap again to get a brief momentary hover; you can wall-jump; landing on enemies gives you a chance to string together multiple jumps; and so on. There are a handful of environmental items that change things up as well — jumping off of certain bricks will send Mario soaring to the left instead of to the right, and standing on some bricks will stop Mario so you can assess the coming challenges and plan your route.
In the few levels I tried, getting to the end wasn’t a big challenge. But the replayability should be excellent here because I didn’t come close to grabbing all of the coins in the course — those among us with OCD tendencies are going to be playing these levels multiple times to perfect our route and jump timing. Furthermore, each course has five pink special coins to grab. Getting those unlocks five more purple coins in harder-to-reach locations. Getting those unlocks five black coins, again in even tougher places in the level. It’ll take at least three playthroughs to grab everything in a given level, and to get all the standard coins will be another challenge.
That’s one example of the game’s depth. The next comes when you factor in competition. The main game’s standard 24 levels are only one part of Super Mario Run. There’s also the “Toad Rally,” in which you compete against friends or people all over the world. Entering a Toad Rally competition costs tickets, which you gain in other parts of the game.
Once you’ve entered the rally, you start a timed course that doesn’t have an end and shoot to get as many coins as you can before time runs out. But you also need to impress the Toad judges by doing combo jumps and other more complicated tricks as you make your way through the level. The more you impress the judges, the more they cheer, and the more points you get.
In both the standard “World Tour” and Toad Rally, the gameplay is excellent. There’s enough of a learning curve that I didn’t feel like I could immediately master each level, but it certainly wasn’t hard to just pick up and start playing. Perhaps the trickiest thing for those of us who’ve played a lot of Mario will be remembering you don’t have to jump on Koopas and Goombas — by default, Mario will automatically vault over them. Jumping gives you more points and the opportunity for more combos, but you don’t have to do it.
The Toad Rally has another twist: You put a few members of your personal Toad posse on the line when you play, and if you lose, those Toads defect to the victor’s team. The number of Toads on your team serves as a good representation of how successful you’ve been in the rally — so you can use them to see how good a potential opponent is before challenging them to a match. Toads also serve as some in-game currency for buying little houses and other objects you can use to customize your very own Mario overworld map. There’s no actual game to be played here, but plenty of fans will likely enjoy tweaking the Mario home screen that they see every time the game starts.
Regardless of what part of the game you’re playing, the graphics look wonderful. I played the game on the iPhone 7 Plus and I’ve never seen Mario look quite so sharp and vivid (the last Mario games I played for more than a few minutes were on the original, standard-definition Wii). And there’s no hint of slowdown or performance hiccups here either. I would have liked to see how it performs on less powerful hardware, but we’ll have to wait until the game launches to see what devices you’ll need to have a good experience with Super Mario Run.
Nintendo decided to price Super Mario Run at $9.99 — more than most iOS games, but less than most games for the company’s own consoles. I think that’s a fair price, given the number of levels included and the replayability factor here. But if you’re wary, the free version of the game lets you play the first three levels and try your hand at a few Toad Rallies so you can see what it’s all about. Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said it didn’t feel right to make people pay to keep unlocking levels when there’s so much momentum in the game to keep running through levels, so the company decided to skip all in-app transactions and go with the single one-time purchase.
Ultimately, the entry fee may seem a little high, but I suspect it’ll be one well worth paying — and I think lots of players will agree with me. Having a native Mario experience built from the ground up with the iPhone in mind is a huge win, and the game appears to be equally well suited to quick play on the subway and longer, in-depth sessions when you’re on the plane. I haven’t bought a new Mario game in years, but I’m ready to pull the trigger on Super Mario Run.
Update: If you want to try Super Mario Run out for yourself, Reggie announced on The Tonight Show that starting Thursday, a demo will be available at Apple Stores worldwide.
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime has garnered a reputation for being a larger-than-life character, whether he’s onstage presenting his company’s latest or getting ready for a one-on-one interview. He’s playing Super Mario Run on an iPad mini when our meeting begins, as if he just can’t stop to focus on the more mundane task at hand. “I’m gonna put this down now,” he says as we get started. “I had a great run going, too.”
It’s clear salesmanship, but it doesn’t feel dishonest. Fils-Aime is one of Nintendo’s most passionate and charismatic advocates, and the brief time I spent with Super Mario Run prior to this meeting made me believe Nintendo has successfully crafted an addictive experience that stays true to Mario’s roots while also feeling native to mobile devices. With that mission accomplished, Fils-Aime is ready to talk about the rather stunning reversal Nintendo has gone through in regard to mobile games. Rather than build only for its own hardware, Nintendo is now focused on making experiences for phones that don’t devalue the company’s franchises.
“The mobile business really has changed versus when Mr. Satoru Iwata [the late CEO of Nintendo] made those comments way back at GDC,” Fils-Aime said, referring to when Iwata dismissed the value of mobile gaming back in 2011. “As we sit here today, literally multiple billions of smart devices are out there in the marketplace … in places like India, throughout parts of Europe, parts of South America where we don’t have a robust dedicated console business. So it really is a different type of opportunity, arguably a mainstream opportunity, that we’re looking at now.”
Those comments sound very similar to what Google, Microsoft and Apple have all said about reaching the “next billion” consumers in developing regions coming online. Those consumers are getting online not with traditional computers but with mobile phones. And Nintendo views mobile as a huge opportunity in those markets as well.
Specifically, Fils-Aime mentioned Brazil as a perfect case where mobile can unlock a big market for Nintendo. He said the country has import duties that make a $200 Nintendo 3DS cost the equivalent of about $600 for a local consumer. “That’s a really tough business model — and yet they all have smart devices,” he explained. “As a way to satiate the desire for our IP, to introduce new IP, to effectively keep the market warm while we figure out how to do business there with our dedicated systems, [mobile] is a huge business opportunity for us.”
Image credit: Troy Harvey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
To that end, Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing will follow Super Mario Run to smartphones in Q1 of 2017, and it seems all but certain more mobile games will follow. Fils-Aime promises the company will provide both value and experiences you can’t get anywhere else, whether you’re playing on a smartphone or on Nintendo’s own hardware. “What we will do is create experiences specific to the device,” Fils-Aime said. “We’ve optimized [Super Mario Run] for the [smartphone screen] — and in doing so it really is taking an approach that is unique, is differentiated, and looks to maximize the value of our IP.”
Of course, Nintendo could have made specific mobile experiences four years ago, but now the opportunity is simply too big to ignore. In 2011, Iwata said that mobile games might help profit in the short term but ultimately not help Nintendo’s “mid- and long-term competitive strength.” However, with millions of consumers who can’t afford a Nintendo console but carry their smartphones everywhere, going mobile can provide a good fix until the company figures out a good way to affordably bring its hardware to various markets.
The launch of Pokémon Go this summer certainly helped Nintendo realize how big an impact a good mobile game can have on the company’s core hardware business. “We saw the impact on our 3DS hardware [and] the 3DS game sales,” Fils-Aime said. “We know that the launch of Pokémon Go generated a tremendous amount of play and anticipation for all things Pokémon; certainly we hope that Super Mario Run will do the same thing for all things Mario.” Further quantifying the impact of Pokémon Go, Fils-Aime said that 3DS hardware sales have increased year-over-year every month since June.
Still, there are going to be consumers who think: Why buy a Nintendo Switch when I can get Mario on my phone? But it’s not something keeping Fils-Aime up at night — while the company may have started crafting great mobile games, it still believes its hardware will be something no other platform can truly match.
“Go back and look at the Nintendo Switch video that we aired back in October and ask yourself: Can you do that on a smart device?” Fils-Aime asked, somewhat rhetorically. “Can you have a big-screen experience and then, ‘I gotta go jump on the train — I’m going to take it with me and continue to have that great experience’?” Again he answers his question: “No, you can’t do that. We believe in creating a differentiated experience for all the platforms that we participate in, and if we do that, the consumer will see how these experiences are different and how there’s room for all of them in their entertainment time.”
In some ways, the combo of the Switch and Nintendo’s mobile game strategy seems to be an admission that mobile games are going to kill dedicated handheld consoles sooner than later. Nintendo did surprisingly well with the 3DS, but it seems likely that it’ll use mobile for quick gaming fixes and the Switch for in-depth experiences going forward. And since the Switch can be used on the go as well, those used to the deeper experiences a 3DS can provide shouldn’t worry about being stuck with quick-play games like Super Mario Run when they need a portable gaming fix.
We still need to find out more about the Switch before we can say if Nintendo’s new strategy will be successful. But after the confusing and poorly received Wii U, it feels like Nintendo might be able to recapture the public’s imagination. It’s a tall order, but 20 minutes with Mario on the iPhone had me missing all the fun I’ve had on Nintendo systems in the past. With the Switch right around the corner, now’s the perfect time for Nintendo to get old fans back into the fold — if games like Super Mario Run can do that, the move to mobile will surely have paid off.
After you check out our discussion with Nintendo’s president Reggie Fils-Aime, you can get a good look at the new Switch console in operation () on the Tonight Show stage. Reggie and host Jimmy Fallon played the yet-to-be-released console, taking a trip through The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild showing off its ability to go portable with the press of a button. Additionally, after previewing a bit of Super Mario Run action, Reggie announced that starting today, you can visit Apple Stores worldwide and try out a demo version before the game launches December 15th.
There’s not a lot of new information if you’ve been paying attention, but it does give a good idea of what using a Switch will be like when it ships in March. As an extra bonus, check out the second video to see Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto playing the game’s theme song along with The Roots.
Source: The Tonight Show (YouTube)
As rumored, Niantic is bringing brand partnerships to its hit augmented reality game, Pokémon Go. The software developer has announced that Sprint will have the first sponsored locations in the US, with more than 10,500 stores expected to be turned into PokéStops and Gyms. It’s worth nothing this doesn’t only include Sprint’s namesake shops, but also those from Boost Mobile and RadioShack — which are owned by the carrier. These spaces will feature in-store charging stations too, in case your smartphone can’t keep up with all your quests.
Now don’t get too excited (or do), but Niantic says you should keep an eye on its social media channels on December 12th. That’s when it will be sharing details about new Pokémon additions to Pokémon Go, and we know you’re dying to find out all about that.