Super Mario Run is set to launch for iOS devices next week. It will be available beginning on December 15. It’s a free-to-start download, and then users will need to pay $10 to unlock all of the game’s content.
It’s a one-time fee, though, so you won’t hit a wall of microtransactions as you play.
That’s the good news. The bad news? Mashable has it that “Super Mario Run requires an internet connection to play,” and they asked Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto about that.
It comes down to piracy. He uses the word “secure” in his response, and Mashable asks him to clarify if security relates to piracy, and he says it does.
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.
Whether or not this connection needs to be persistent is up for debate. Miyamoto never uses that word in his response, but he does say that saving requires an online connection. So maybe it connects only to save progress? Here’s that bit.
We had thought at one point that it would be nice to have the World Tour [story] mode available standalone, to be able to play without that connection. But then the challenge is when that’s operating in a standalone mode, it actually complicates the connection back to the Toad Rally and Kingdom modes. And because those two modes are relying on the network save, we had to integrate the World Tour mode as well.
Super Mario Run is hitting iOS first largely due to piracy
I get it. Nintendo has a penchant for trying, though often unsuccessfully, to stop gaming pirates in their tracks. They’ve done it since the days of the original Famicom in Japan. It’s a pillar of their design philosophy. Just look at the edges of the Wii U’s discs. They’re rounded off instead of edged like normal discs, thus making them proprietary media.
I get that they want to curb piracy with their first big mobile effort. Here’s Miyamoto on software security. It’s one of the reasons why they chose to start with iOS instead of Android, too.
But actually, the security element is one of the reasons that we decided to go with iPhone and iOS first. So this is just — based on the current development environment — a requirement that’s been built into the game to support security and the fact that the three different modes are connecting to the network and interacting with one another.
But come on, Nintendo.
Have people check in with the game at weekly or bi-weekly intervals if you want to slap some sort of DRM on this thing. Have the game verify its legitimacy with your servers once in a while, and then the user is good. Stopping them in their tracks whenever they hit airplane mode or an area without a connection? Is this some sort of joke?
This wouldn’t be a big deal if Nintendo hadn’t slapped a $10 price tag on Super Mario Run. They made that decision, and they need to offer a product that’s well worth the price. Draconian DRM that requires a persistent internet connection is ridiculous, regardless of reasoning.