TOKYO — Shares in Nintendo are reeling from investor disappointment over “Super Mario Run,” the Japanese company’s first smartphone game featuring the iconic Mario character.
After falling for four straight days through Friday, the shares continued sliding Monday, closing the day at 24,540 yen, down 7%.
“Super Mario Run” became available for download via Apple’s iPhone platform on Friday. It will be released in 151 countries in phases.
Unlike many other phone-based games, players do not have to pay for in-game items or to advance to another stage, but instead pay a one-time fee of 1,200 yen ($10.22) after clearing a free-of-charge stage.
Market expectations were high for the game, not only because of the massive popularity of the Mario character, which has become almost synonymous with Nintendo, but also because of the huge success of “Pokemon Go,” a smartphone game released earlier this year. Investors saw the potential for Nintendo to tap a new area of growth.
Buoyed by such expectations, Nintendo shares surged by more than 30% over a roughly one-month period from early November, when they were at their recent low. On Dec. 12, they cracked the 30,000 yen line for the first time in about five months.
But the stock price began heading south again following the release of “Super Mario Run.” Although the game climbed to the top of the sales rankings in such countries as the U.S., the U.K., France and Australia at Apple’s App Store, it ranked only fourth in Japan as of Monday, with many users complaining that the free-of-charge portion of the game is too limited.