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Nintendo has finally brought one of its most popular franchises to mobile devices. Super Mario Run officially released for iOS devices today, following its initial announcement this past September.
Mario arrives on mobile phones after years of reluctance on the part of Nintendo, a company whose core business strategy has been to make games for its own dedicated hardware such as the 3DS and Wii U. With mass market support waning, particularly on the home console front, Nintendo finally had to engage the huge mobile market.
While this isn't Nintendo's first mobile game (the company tested the waters with the social game Miitomo earlier this year), the release of this iOS Mario title marks the true beginning of Nintendo’s adventure into the mobile game market.
Super Mario Run merges the iconic characters and world of the Super Mario franchise with the mobile-friendly mechanics of the runner genre. Mario will run through the level and vault over small obstacles automatically, but tapping on the screen will allow him to jump higher to clear obstacles and grab coins.
As of this afternoon, Super Mario Run can be downloaded for free on iOS devices, but only a few levels are playable without paying $9.99 to unlock the full game. Currently, it's an iOS exclusive but it will eventually come to Android devices sometime next year.
Nintendo has a couple more mobile games slated for release through its partnership with mobile game company DeNA. Nintendo has announced plans to release two more games before March 2017, including games based on both Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing.
As Nintendo takes its first real steps in mobile games, the company is readying for the March 2017 launch of the Nintendo Switch, the home console follow-up to the flailing Wii U.