After nearly a decade of doing its best to ignore the explosive growth of smartphones and tablets, Nintendo brought a game based on its beloved character Mario to iOS devices.
People have been able to play Mario games on portable devices made by Nintendo since the early 1980s, but "Super Mario Run" represents the first time Nintendo has put out an installment for devices made by another company — in this case, iPhones and iPads from Apple.
It is a watershed moment for a game character who is as recognizable to many as Mickey Mouse. Mario is widely estimated to be the best-selling game franchise ever, with more than a half-billion copies sold since the plumber first showed up in the game "Donkey Kong" in 1981.
The character is so famous that Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan, appeared at the closing ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this year dressed as Mario to promote the next Summer Games in Japan.
Releasing Mario on phones and tablets was once an unthinkable move for a quirky company that had for years insisted that making both game software and the hardware it ran on was essential to its magic.
The title, however, scored a rating of only 2.5 stars on Apple's app store, and players also appear to be disappointed over the game's US$ 10 price tag to unlock all features.
"Ten bucks for the mobile environment is really high," said Joost van Dreunen, CEO of SuperData Research, a firm that tracks the games market. "That’s a tough ticket."
Despite hitting the No. 1 spot in the U.S., it did not make the mark in Japan.
"Super Mario Run" is not yet available for Android devices. It is expected to be available for Android users in 2017.
The stock is up more than 57 percent year-to-date.