Super Mario Run requires an always-on internet connection because of piracy concerns

In a move that has frustrated many, Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo’s chief creative fellow, has revealed that Super Mario Run, the Japanese gaming giant’s upcoming mobile game, requires an internet connection at all times to play.

Miyamoto specifically stated that Nintendo made this decision for security reasons in order to prevent the game from being pirated. He also says that Apple’s security is one of the reasons the Japanese gaming giant decided to launch on the iPhone first. While Android is home to rampant piracy, Apple’s App Store is relatively clear of the problem, save for a still relatively active ‘jailbreak’ community.

Miyamoto says that creating a standalone ‘World Tour’ mode that doesn’t require an internet connection was discussed, but the game’s developers found that needing to reconnect to the internet when jumping back to Super Mario Run’s other two modes — ‘Toad Rally’ and ‘Kingdom Builder’ — complicated the process.

“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.”

Piracy has always been a concern for Nintendo, prompting the company to stick with cartridges in the mid to late 90s Nintendo 64 era and even after, opting for its own proprietary disc format with the Gamecube. Nintendo’s upcoming Switch console will also utilize cartridges, though likely not for piracy reasons; flash storage is just significantly cheaper than it once was.

While an always-on internet connection won’t be an issue in most situations, it could become a problem for those hoping to play Super Mario Run during their morning commute on the subway, or for those who are data conscious.

Super Mario Run is set to launch on December 15th in 150 countries around the world, including Canada, for $13.99 CAD.