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New easy mode for ‘Super Mario Run’ takes some of the pressure off players

The latest update to Super Mario Run on iOS has added an easy mode that removes time limits and grants unlimited lives, but is only available to those who purchased the full game. Nintendo announced the move on Twitter, stating that the addition was made for players who want to explore “pressure-free.”

The update represents the mobile game’s largest revamp since its mid-December release. In addition to easy mode, Toad Rally, Run‘s contentious multiplayer mode, has been revised. Previously, if you lost a race, you would lose a plethora of multicolored Toads to your opponent. Now, that number has been decreased to soften the blow. This is good news, considering that Toads are the currency used to expand your Mushroom Kingdom.

The update rolled out shortly after Nintendo revealed that Run has been downloaded by more than 78 million iOS users worldwide. More than five percent of those downloads — roughly four million — have translated to purchases of the full $10 game, vaulting Super Mario Run to $53 million in revenue since its release.

The disclosure came alongside Nintendo’s latest earnings release, which highlighted strong Nintendo 3DS sales amid dwindling Wii U sales. Even though Super Mario Run has provided a great boost for the video game publisher, Nintendo CEO Tatsumi Kimishima wasn’t thrilled with its overall performance. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company had hoped to convert at least 10 percent of downloads into purchases.

Still, it appears that Run has exceeded typical expectations for mobile games. Serkan Toto, a Tokyo-based mobile gaming consultant, claimed games that only ask for a dollar or two for in-game content struggle to reach the five percent rate of Super Mario Run. While the discrepancy may be attributed to the fact that Super Mario Run is not truly free-to-play, but free-to-try, $10 mobile games are outside of the industry norm in the first place.

Nintendo is still figuring out new ways to succeed on mobile, and the upcoming Fire Emblem Heroes will adopt a model more consistent with the platform, as it will feature microtransactions similar to those in Pokémon Go.

Super Mario Run‘s numbers will certainly spike come March 23 when it jumps onto Android devices.

Updated on 3-19-2017 by Steven Petite: Added official Android launch date.

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