Home Gaming Nintendo licenses popular free-to-play game

Nintendo licenses popular free-to-play game

1 min read

Mario puzzle and dragons

Puzzle & Dragons is a ridiculously popular free-to-play mobile game. The formula and design is fairly simple, but now it’s getting a Mario skin and making its way to the 3DS.

Puzzle & Dragons is basically yet another match-three game like Candy Crush Saga, and brings its developers, GungHo, about $2m-3.75m per day. Let me repeat that so it can sink in for a moment. The free-to-play title gets about $2 million every day. But we’re not sure if Nintendo’s version will use a different monetization model.

The Super Mario Edition of the game is set to launch first in Japan on 29 April on 3DS.

Nintendo’s new edition replicates the game’s match-three gameplay but adds in Mario characters, enemies and an overworld map similar to New Super Mario Bros.

I’m curious if the game will come to the West, or if this is purely a way of coaxing more cash out of the Eastern audience. We miss out on plenty of games each year in this part of the world, but I’m not particularly sad about missing out on this one.

I still can’t believe the amount of cash that companies rake in with the free-to-play model – no wonder they’re all jumping on that ridiculously lucrative cash cow. I’d also make a free-to-play game and sell out for that kind of money. I hate the idea, but I think I hate it even more that people are willing to throw money at these games. This is how we ended up with that horror called Dungeon Keeper on mobile.

Last Updated: January 8, 2015


  1. Raptor Rants A Lot

    January 9, 2015 at 06:37

    2 Freaking mil a day????? Does anyone know the player base that the game has? I’d love to see the figures to work out what the average spend a day is.

    I agree that the F2P model is terrible… For large scale games. Games like this will never succeed financially if it has to be sold as a full game at full price. People won’t buy it. The solution would be to drop the price of the full purchase, but again that ends up with a few sales and then it’s over. Once that happens, as a company you would need to develop another fun and enjoyable mobile game. Let’s face it. 1) There are too many mobile games to do this 2)The dev cycle times for that would be far too short in the mobile industry. It would never work. So the F2P Microtransaction model is the only one that would really work.

    My issue is when this model starts becoming a thing for large scale AAA titles the way it has lately. That is where the problem comes in of trying to make a mobile game model work for a large game.

    Large games don’t have 2 hour – 24 hour cooldown periods or amounts of turns you are allowed to play. It’s not a slow progress like mobile type gaming. Mobile gaming has no pay walls. You can still play and progress, you just need to either wait for your moves/resources to refresh or for whatever you were doing to complete.

    AAA gaming instead puts in pay walls. You either grind for it for hours (not put the game down and come back tomorrow) or pay. Now that is the real disgusting part of microtransactions making their way in to AAA gaming. It’s not a thing of wait, it’s a thing of buy or actually spend hours getting enough resources to get what you want.

    Anyway, what I am trying to say is that mobile gaming is a niche market where you do forget about your game for days on end and if you do there is no harm. AAA games that start the same model end up where if you leave the game for a few days you have lost a few days worth of grind for the items you need etc. So the mobile gaming f2p model I am actually ok with.

    Yeah you get your Dungeon Keepers of the mobile industry, but look how quickly that failed and how they realised they made a terrible product.


    • Admiral Chief

      January 9, 2015 at 07:47



      • Raptor Rants A Lot

        January 9, 2015 at 08:00

        You’re supposed to be on holiday! Not trolling my rants 😛


        • Admiral Chief

          January 9, 2015 at 08:33



          • Raptor Rants A Lot

            January 9, 2015 at 08:39

            Dropping the kids off at the pool are we?

    • Hammersteyn

      January 9, 2015 at 07:59

      EA was more than happy to release that hideous cash cow upon the world which means we probably will never see a proper version of Dungeon Keeper again not to mention a shit ton other games that they own the licenses to,including SimCity. Still can’t believe they had the gall to deny any possibility of offline play. Oooooh But they published DA:I and a new ME is on the way so all is forgiven


      • Raptor Rants A Lot

        January 9, 2015 at 08:01

        Lol. Look I hear exactly what you are saying. But DK fell flat on its face and I think EA knows this. I don’t think we’ll see anything that bad again (Hopefully)


      • Ceyber, The Metal Rabbit

        January 9, 2015 at 08:26

        War for the Overworld is supposed to be the spiritual successor to DK… Have you seen it? Looks promising.

        DA:I. has so much potential but there are too many unfinished elements and a lot that could have been fleshed out. Graphics are great but the more OCD you are the more game-breaking bugs you will find. The story feels a lot less “intelligent” than both previous games, even with an altered world state. Also, how can Arkham City have better lip-sync tech than a Bioware RPG from Dec 2014?! Am I just getting too old and critical?

        EA have been trying hard to win back the fans though, I’ll give them that. That other publisher though, that’s a whole other bag of poop.


        • Hammersteyn

          January 9, 2015 at 08:34

          I’m happy if people enjoy spiritual successors, but buying Bullfrog and Westwood and then not creating new sequels for Syndicate or C&C feels like EA took there ball and went home, now no one can play.


          • Ceyber, The Metal Rabbit

            January 9, 2015 at 08:43

            I see what you mean.

            They didn’t go home straight away though, it’s like they had a soccer ball and tried to force everyone to play cricket.

      • Blood Emperor Trevor

        January 9, 2015 at 09:00

        Not by me. #neverforget

        “I won’t buy your games because of shitty business practices.”
        “But we made a cool game that you’d like!”
        “Have you changed your shitty business practices?”
        “Fuck off then.”


        • Hammersteyn

          January 9, 2015 at 09:01

          Agreed, still waiting for DA:I to appear in the bargain bin. (I did buy garden warfare for very cheap though. #ashamed)


          • Blood Emperor Trevor

            January 9, 2015 at 09:03

            I can’t see it on Steam. Out of sight, out of mind heh.

    • Mandom (Umar)

      January 9, 2015 at 08:03

      It’s INCREDIBLY popular in Japan. tile matching games are by nature extremely addictive but then throw in RPG mechanics and its a major win. This game has had so many cross-overs with other games too, but nothing like the Mario one. Its actually not a bad game at all


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