Tech Transformers

Nintendo shares rally as it says ‘Super Mario Run’ is coming to iOS next month for $9.99

Nintendo shares rallied Wednesday after the Japanese firm announced the release date and price of its upcoming "Super Mario Run" mobile game.

Shares of the gaming giant were up as much as 5.3 percent in Asia trade before eventually closing 2.78 percent higher at 25,550 yen. It continues the solid rally in Nintendo's stock price which is up 52.5 percent year-to-date.

The latest share pop came after Nintendo announced "Super Mario Run" would be released on December 15 on Apple's iOS operating system with the game costing $9.99. There would also be a limited portion of the game available for free.

Mobile games are forecast to generate around $37 billion in revenues globally this year, according to market research firm Newzoo. Nintendo has been focusing on the mobile market after struggling in the console market in recent times, losing out to Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox.

Shigeru Miyamoto, creative fellow at Nintendo and creator of Super Mario, speaks on stage during an Apple launch event on September 7, 2016 in San Francisco, California.
Stephen Lam | Reuters

The pivot to mobile has been welcomed by investors who've cheered the company's recent success with "Pokemon Go" – a game developed by Niantic with the franchise licensed by the Pokemon Company, which Nintendo is invested in. It also released "Miitomo", a social app that was developed alongside DeNA, in March.

Nintendo has committed to releasing a number of mobile games. Unlike the majority of mobile titles operate on a so-called freemium model – where the app is free to download but monetizes through in-game purchases. But Nintendo has opted for a one-off price.

"Super Mario" is one of Nintendo's most famous games, with the whole franchise selling over 500 million units, according to research firm VGChartz.

While some analysts are concerned that the price could be too high, others were more bullish because of the strong brand of Nintendo and Mario.

"Offering a free game with an option to unlock all the available content for just $9.99 will appeal as a pricing point to many. Many successful mobile games, such as 'Clash of Clans' by way of example, have seen an annual spend of over $100/year/gamer. So to set a low incentive (zero to try) and then a low total cost when engaged could set Nintendo on a differentiated path which, ultimately, could be a game changer to address a wider audience," Neil Campling, head of global technology, media and telecoms research at Northern Trust Capital Markets, wrote in a note on Tuesday.

"For unlimited use of 'Super Mario Run' it is the price of a just one month of a Netflix subscription, or one month of Spotify premium or a fraction of a traditional game ASP (average selling price)."

Campling added that the partnership with Apple was "perhaps the biggest endorsement we could possibly have imagined" for Nintendo's mobile strategy.

Investors are hoping that Nintendo's recent success in mobile gaming has reinvigorated the brand to help drive sales of its upcoming Switch console which is slated for release in March 2017.