Nintendo’s Super Mario Run, the first official Mario game to arrive on smartphones, requires an Internet connection to play. That means no playing it on the Tube, on planes, or anywhere else where you might not have a phone signal or solid Wi-Fi access.
The company’s gaming chief Shigeru Miyamoto, in an interview with Mashable, explained the online-only requirement was intended to combat piracy.
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.
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.
Miyamoto also noted that while Nintendo did consider splitting out the game’s main single-player mode from the asymmetric multiplayer Toad Rally mode, it changed its mind for technical reasons.
“We had thought at one point that it would be nice to have the World Tour [story] mode available standalone,” said Miyamoto, “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.”
While the requirement for an online connection isn’t entirely uncommon for mobile games—see Square Enix’s Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius—plenty of others, including the smash hit Candy Crush, allow fans to play offline, and then sync progress once an Internet connection is present.
It’s also worth noting that Nintendo is charging a full one-time fee of £8/$10 for Super Mario Run.
Those still interested can download the game on iOS on December 18. Players will also have access to a four-level demo for free on launch day. For more on the game, check out our hands-on with the Super Mario Run demo.