Mario is Nintendo’s best-known franchise, and its titular hero, a portly plumber, named Mario, appeared in over 200 video game titles since his rise to videogame stardom in Donkey Kong in 1981. And while Donkey Kong remains popular to this day, along with other Super Mario games, some Mario games are far more short-lived, like Dr. Mario World, which is facing a shutdown later this year.
Nintendo announced that they’re taking Mario’s medical license, and shutting down the Dr. Mario World, a mobile puzzle game, in their official notice, released on July 28, 2021. The game will officially shut down on November 1, 2021, two years after its initial release on July 10, 2019. Nintendo offered their sincerest apologies to the players and added that the in-game currency, diamonds, won’t be available for purchase as of July 28, 2021. Disheartening news for the fans of the game, and the entire franchise, especially those who invested in in-game currency.
In addition to the announcement, Nintendo disclosed that the game won’t be accessible following the end of service. Once Dr. Mario World leaves its imaginary office at digital marketplaces, all players who attempt to play the game will be greeted with an end-of-service notification, rendering the game unplayable. With that said, former players will retain their ability to brag about in-game progress and high score, as Nintendo intends to preserve all play histories on Dr. Mario World Memories – a website that will launch after the game’s end of service. Those wishing to avoid being recorded can delete their saved data within the app.
Nintendo’s decision to pull the plug on Dr. Mario World is hardly a surprising one, given the game’s lackluster performance. Despite having a strong launch, with over two million downloads, and $100,000 spent within the first three days, Dr. Mario World struggled to maintain its initial success and sales momentum. In fact, according to data collected by SensorTower, a leading provider of market intelligence for the global app economy, Dr. Mario World is by far the worst-performing Nintendo smartphone game title in terms of revenue performance.
The game featured microtransactions, which are often used in free-to-play games as revenue sources for developers, but it would seem that the player base wasn’t large enough to keep the money machine rolling. So, Nintendo decided to cut its losses. Mobile games account for a tiny portion of Nintendo’s overall earnings anyway; approximately 3% of the company’s revenue is attributed to mobile releases, including licensing deals. Everything else is generated by Switch, which is getting an upgrade – meet the Nintendo Switch OLED model.
Similar to GTA Online server shutdowns, in which gamers won’t be compensated for the money spent on in-game currency, the developer of Dr. Mario World won’t issue any refunds either. Still, those nostalgic about the game in which you match viruses with pill capsules will be able to play the game, whether through Nintendo’s Wii U Virtual Console or Nintendo Switch Online.