According to recently released statistics, Dr. Mario World is Nintendo's least successful mobile game.
Since they ventured into the world of mobile gaming, Nintendo has found remarkable success. Between Fire Emblem Heroes, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and Dragalia Lost, they've established themselves as one of the best app makers on the market. Unfortunately, their latest mobile title hasn't been nearly as successful as these past releases, both critically and commercially.
Dr. Mario World didn't exactly light the world on fire when it launched, and some reviews have been decidedly negative. Not only have reviews been less than stellar, but the first month's revenue is by far the worst ever seen by a Nintendo mobile title. In fact, the second lowest earner, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, still pulled in nearly ten times as much cash as Dr. Mario World did when it first released.
So, what happened? Why is this game doing so poorly on the market? It all comes down to one thing: monetization technique.
Nintendo's previous titles all dealt with monetization in different ways. Super Mario Run, for example, was a pay to purchase title. Fire Emblem Heroes, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and Dragalia Lost all offered microtransactions in a fair way, such as purchasing new characters or cosmetic items. Dr. Mario World, however, wants you to pay to keep playing the game. Just like all the other titles in this genre, such as Candy Crush, once you run out of 'Hearts', you need to either purchase more to continue playing, or wait a half hour for one to regenerate. You can also purchase power ups to make the levels easier. It's something players aren't excited to spend money on, and they will simply walk away from the game when they can no longer play.
This monetization scheme is nothing new, it's been happening in the mobile gaming world for years. Nintendo is only now falling prey to it, and thankfully it doesn't seem to be working out in their favor.
Another possible issue is that the game doesn't offer anything truly unique to mobile gamers. This sort of puzzle game is saturated on the market, and if a player runs out of lives they can just go play one of the other games instead of spending money to continue playing Dr. Mario World. Only die-hard fans will break open their wallet and buy some 'Hearts' or power ups.
Let's hope Nintendo chooses different ways to monetize their games moving forward, as most people are tired of seeing this method used to separate players from their money. We have faith that they will continue to craft great games, and we can't wait to see what they have in store next.