New Super Mario Bros. 2 is all about the fat cash money. Mario Mario and Luigi Mario are sick of the steady pay of plumbing and they’ve taken G. Gordon Liddy’s advice to heart, pouring all their time and energy into acquiring monstrous piles of gold. These mustachioed, raccoon-tail wearing freaks are so obsessed with coins in their latest adventure that they literally spout coins out of their heads.
The money obsession isn’t just woven into the game’s platforming fabric. Cash fueled its creation. New Super Mario Bros. for DS and New Super Mario Bros. Wii have been two of Nintendo’s strongest sellers in the past 6 years. NSMB alone has sold nearly 30 million copies. That’s why Nintendo started pulling developers from non-Mario studios to make the new game while the core Mario team EAD worked on New Super Mario Bros. U: To make new Mario games faster.
Has it worked? Is New Super Mario Bros. 2 raking in the dough in Scrooge McDuck quantities? It’s only been available in the US for 24 hours, so we’ll look to the rest of the world. Survey says: Yes.
MCV reported on Monday that the 3DS sequel did brisk business in its first week on sale in the UK. Though it didn’t share precise sales data, UKIE GfK Chart-Track said that New Super Mario Bros. 2 sold more than 29 percent better in its first week than New Super Mario Bros. did. Bully for Nintendo.
Strong UK sales doesn’t guarantee the game will go on to be one of Nintendo’s biggest earners though. The original New Super Mario Bros. sold just 450,000 copies in its first year, but ballooned to 30 million over half a decade because of the Nintendo DS hardware’s popularity. Nintendo kept selling DSs, so people kept buying NSMB. The Nintendo 3DS hardware meanwhile, while healthy, isn’t guaranteed to be as popular as the DS was. In fact, it’s almost impossible seeing as the DS is the second best-selling gaming machine ever made.
Retail performance is only half the story though. New Super Mario Bros. 2 is also the first big Nintendo game to be released as a digital download at launch, and the Big N isn’t spilling its guts on digital sales just yet. President Satoru Iwata did reveal to The Wall Street Journal that 5 percent of NSMB 2’s initial sales in Japan were digital, but again, initial sales aren’t indicative of ultimate success. There’s no golden fire flower for Nintendo to just turn things into money. It has to rely on fickle, everyday people just like every other business to make money.