Players complain about high data use from persistent internet in 'Super Mario Run'

Posted:
in iPhone
Early reports of "Super Mario Run" taking up to 75 megabytes per hour of dedicated play were a bit too high, but not by much, as users complain about the persistent internet connection the game demands, as well as launch failures, forcing repeat downloads.




Initial reports from Apple Retail and other Apple employees with the game installed on their devices claimed that the game would use up to 75 megabytes per hour of near-constant play. AppleInsider has since learned that the iPhones on the demo stations would periodically wipe themselves, and force the level downloads that are mandatory right after the game launches for the first time a few times a day.

A series of (green) tubes

However, further testing has shown that while the level download packages are significant chunks, the data used is still not trivial for those on restrictive data plans with hard caps.

Aggravating the problem, the "Super Mario Run" servers were hammered on Thursday night and into Friday, similarly to the bludgeoning that players delivered to the "Pokemon Go" servers for a month after launch. As a result, not only was the game unplayable for some as a result of the persistent internet connection requirement, but the mandatory level pack downloads would also sometimes fail, forcing the app to re-download the data.
"Until the server load lightens up, and for that first level load, though, play on Wi-Fi" -- Apple App Store engineer
As a result of sometimes repeated re-downloads, before playing beyond the tutorial, some users were seeing consumed data grow to well over 150 megabytes.

Several hours of testing the night of release by AppleInsider shows that discounting the effect of level downloads, a solid hour of constant play still pushed about 60 megabytes of data per hour. Social media reports vary somewhat, but most fall in the range of 40 to 60 megabytes per hour, with some higher and lower outliers that we are attempting to contact.

Behind the curtain

AppleInsider has spoken to engineering sources within the Apple iOS App Store who told us that consumed data will vary widely player to player.

"The game is chatty," we were told. "Nintendo's doing a lot of fat-packet data shuffling back-and-forth to its own back-end, and if a packet fails, it'll keep trying for a bit until it gives up and errors out. This is all data use."

As a result, we were told that customer's data use should fall a bit as the initial peak impact on the Nintendo servers wanes.

As examples of other more internet-heavy entertainment data needs, we were told that "Pokemon Go" can use 30 megabytes per hour, Microsoft's Xbox One "Halo 5" can consume up to 400 megabytes per hour, and the new "Battlefield 1" generally uses 250 megabytes per hour, but can peak at 500 megabytes per hour. A 1080p video streamed from iTunes can consume 1.5 gigabytes per hour.

Dealing with it

"Until the server load lightens up, and for that first level load, though, play on wi-fi," our Apple contact said. "Unless you're on Comcast, you're good to go, and if you hit the Comcast cap playing it, you've got other problems."

Most U.S. users on current pre-paid plans are throttled after a certain amount of data has been consumed. This, fortunately, will have little or no effect on gameplay. Data the game needs for individual runs is pre-cached, and not streamed while the game is actively being played.

However, consumers with overly restrictive caps will have problems with long-term use of the game on wireless networks, at least for the short term.

AppleInsider will continue to look into the app's data use as time goes on.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    This minor issue can get in line behind:

    1) Shameful scam In-App purchase design that prevents you from using the purchase on more than one of your own personal devices. No idea how Apple has allowed this. All other Apps with in-app purchase to unlock permanent content allow you to restore it at any time.

    2) Embarassingly stupid gameplay. Auto-jump over enemies? This is not Mario.
    rogifan_newdasanman69thefunclownboltsfan17elijahgmacplusplusstangaddict
  • Reply 2 of 32
    Glad I didn't download this. No thanks.
  • Reply 3 of 32
    Don't buy the game then.  I plopped down $10 bucks and love it.  This is 10X better than 99.9% of games on the App Store anyway.  With that said yes there are some aspects that need to be addressed.  I would expect to be able to play on any device including AppleTV.  This is not Mario?  It is designed for on the go gaming.  They did a great job to achieve this through the simple mechanic.  If you want "real Mario" then play it on a console.  It is that simple.
    jSnivelyrhinotuffTwitchyPuppyTwitchyPuppycali
  • Reply 4 of 32
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,847member
    I was surprised and disappointed lack of iPad support with a horizontal layout. Makes playing on an iPad pretty tough. Virtually every case is designed to support the iPad in a horizontal position. As I play almost all games on my iPad, not my iPhone, I'm glad I realized this before plunking down the $10. Maybe they'll add in a future update.
    Metriacanthosauruscalijbdragon
  • Reply 5 of 32
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,115member
    Glad I didn't download this. No thanks.
    Well, close to 3,000,000 did on the first day, myself included, and it's probably been the best $10 I've ever spent on the iOS AppStore. Its the most popular title in the history of the Appstore. So don't worry, Nintendo doesn't care about your support, the game is doing more than fine, and millions of people are enjoying it. Also, there's something called "wifi" if someone is so so worried about 50MB/hr while playing a game. In my own experience, this game consumed 1.5MB during an hr, and I assume this will be the experience of most people after the initial download.
    edited December 2016 jSnivelypscooter63macplusplusapplepieguy
  • Reply 6 of 32
    There is no way Battlefield 1 uses 250-500 megabytes an hour. Data usage is low with online PC/console games. Most online shooters on PC/console are using around 50mb an hour. I played Battlefield 1 Conquest mode last night, which is 64 vs 64 players and I only used around 95mb in 3 hours. 
    macpluspluscali
  • Reply 7 of 32
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,339administrator
    There is no way Battlefield 1 uses 250-500 megabytes an hour. Data usage is low with online PC/console games. Most online shooters on PC/console are using around 50mb an hour. I played Battlefield 1 Conquest mode last night, which is 64 vs 64 players and I only used around 95mb in 3 hours. 
    Source: Microsoft for both Halo and Battlefield 1.
  • Reply 8 of 32
    Don't buy the game then.  I plopped down $10 bucks and love it.  This is 10X better than 99.9% of games on the App Store anyway.  With that said yes there are some aspects that need to be addressed.  I would expect to be able to play on any device including AppleTV.  This is not Mario?  It is designed for on the go gaming.  They did a great job to achieve this through the simple mechanic.  If you want "real Mario" then play it on a console.  It is that simple.
    A steaming turd in a plastic bag is better than 99.9% of games on the App store... but this isn't better than the very best games on the store and the restrictions are needlessly intrusive. There is very little pirating on iOS compared with other platforms, and it's hard to know exactly what kind of thinking or agreement lead to this current state of affairs. 

    Also bear in mind iOS users who buy this game will get the worst experience... because a week after this appears on Android, there will be a hacked version that a) doesn't require data and b) unlocks everything for free. As usual, people conforming to the rules are penalized.
    dysamoriamacpluspluswatto_cobrajbdragon
  • Reply 9 of 32
    There is no way Battlefield 1 uses 250-500 megabytes an hour. Data usage is low with online PC/console games. Most online shooters on PC/console are using around 50mb an hour. I played Battlefield 1 Conquest mode last night, which is 64 vs 64 players and I only used around 95mb in 3 hours. 
    Source: Microsoft for both Halo and Battlefield 1.
    Ok. That just seems pretty high. Unfortunately I have to monitor my internet usage now thanks to Comcast and their new ridiculous data cap.
  • Reply 10 of 32
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 327administrator
    This minor issue can get in line behind:

    1) Shameful scam In-App purchase design that prevents you from using the purchase on more than one of your own personal devices. No idea how Apple has allowed this. All other Apps with in-app purchase to unlock permanent content allow you to restore it at any time.

    2) Embarassingly stupid gameplay. Auto-jump over enemies? This is not Mario.

    1) Completely incorrect. You need to link the game to your Nintendo account, as it instructs during the initial set up. If you don't do this, you can always do it later, but it tells you that's where your purchases and progress are stored -- not on Apple's ecosystem. This is nothing new for games on IOS, plenty work behind an external login. I will concede, however, that it is a bit obtuse given who they are targeting with the release.

    2) It's not bad. Going by your comment it seems like you didn't make it much past the tutorial though? The only enemies you auto-vault over are the tiny ones like goombas, and even though you auto-vault over them you still do need to interact via a timed tap to actually jump on their heads and get any points. You are still forced to jump on the heads of larger enemies, and they will still do damage to you if you simply walk into them.

    In a lot of ways it's a return to form. You're doing score-based runs while the game itself is emphasizing mastery of the levels and working to retain the precise timing part of platforming. That's pretty Mario at its core. Have you gotten to the black coins on any level yet? Those things are no joke.

    No one is going to argue that losing direct control of Mario makes this game better, but that is one of the concessions of the platform and the audience they chose to target. This is a game built for mobile, and all the baggage that comes with that. At worst it's just disappointing because it's exactly what everyone expected it to be. There were hopes that maybe Nintendo, of all companies, would do something really cool, but it turns out they essentially just made a runner with Mario.

    This whole thing is more about the brand than the game anyway. Nintendo doesn't want to make full blown iOS games, they want to keep their brands fresh and encourage people to buy their hardware to get the full experience.
    edited December 2016 pscooter63
  • Reply 11 of 32
    mike1 said:
    I was surprised and disappointed lack of iPad support with a horizontal layout. Makes playing on an iPad pretty tough. Virtually every case is designed to support the iPad in a horizontal position. As I play almost all games on my iPad, not my iPhone, I'm glad I realized this before plunking down the $10. Maybe they'll add in a future update.
    The game is not designed for landscape mode on the iPhone either.  It is designed for one-handed play while holding your iPhone in portrait mode.  So the iPad version is designed the same way, to be played in portrait mode, although you cannot hold the iPad with one hand like you can with a phone.  They wanted the game to be consistent on both devices.  So you will never see the game with landscape support.  That is not how they designed the game.  So if you don't like it, then delete it.
  • Reply 12 of 32

    slurpy said:
    Glad I didn't download this. No thanks.
    Well, close to 3,000,000 did on the first day, myself included, and it's probably been the best $10 I've ever spent on the iOS AppStore. Its the most popular title in the history of the Appstore. So don't worry, Nintendo doesn't care about your support, the game is doing more than fine, and millions of people are enjoying it. Also, there's something called "wifi" if someone is so so worried about 50MB/hr while playing a game. In my own experience, this game consumed 1.5MB during an hr, and I assume this will be the experience of most people after the initial download.
    You don't have to be so arrogant to people.  Obviously you did not read the article because some Internet providers, Comcast, have data caps, so even playing on Wi-Fi can be a problem.  It is totally stupid that the game requires Internet access, for piracy concerns?  I would think most people can afford $9.99 so piracy would not necessarily be an issue.
    technojbdragon
  • Reply 13 of 32

    I would think most people can afford $9.99 so piracy would not necessarily be an issue.
    If only that were true! Just look at all the 99¢ apps that get pirated.
  • Reply 14 of 32
    nhtnht Posts: 4,429member
    jSnively said:
    This minor issue can get in line behind:

    1) Shameful scam In-App purchase design that prevents you from using the purchase on more than one of your own personal devices. No idea how Apple has allowed this. All other Apps with in-app purchase to unlock permanent content allow you to restore it at any time.

    1) Completely incorrect. You need to link the game to your Nintendo account, as it instructs during the initial set up. If you don't do this, you can always do it later, but it tells you that's where your purchases and progress are stored -- not on Apple's ecosystem. This is nothing new for games on IOS, plenty work behind an external login. I will concede, however, that it is a bit obtuse given who they are targeting with the release.

    You don't need to link your game to your Nintendo account.  Just take the leap of faith on the second device and click buy.  Apple will come back with the you already bought this message and you can download the content again for free.

    However, only one device can run at a time and it doesn't work with Family Sharing.  You have to do a work around with logging into your primary account and downloading the content and then restoring the other appleId.  Whether you can have two of those playing at a time (because of different appleIds) I don't know.  I suspect not.  Folks using the same Nintendo ID/AppleIDs across multiple devices reports them being told the game is already running on another device and it quits.

    The implementation is unnecessarily stupid and I deleted it.  The kids will just have to play something else.

    While this may be nothing new for games on iOS it's not something to be lauded.
    edited December 2016
  • Reply 15 of 32
    There is no way Battlefield 1 uses 250-500 megabytes an hour. Data usage is low with online PC/console games. Most online shooters on PC/console are using around 50mb an hour. I played Battlefield 1 Conquest mode last night, which is 64 vs 64 players and I only used around 95mb in 3 hours. 
    Source: Microsoft for both Halo and Battlefield 1.
    Do they render the bitmaps on the servers !???
  • Reply 16 of 32
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,784member
    Glad I didn't download this. No thanks.
    That’s okay. It will be wildly successful in spite of the obligatory negativity on this site. And the explanation will be that only stupid people buy this game, right?
  • Reply 17 of 32
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,349member
    Nostalgia makes people stupid with their money.
    If it was an unknown character in that game, it wouldn't have sold a single game.

    This game clearly doesn't need to connect to the internet to work but for some reason, that's how they made it.
  • Reply 18 of 32

    mike1 said:
    I was surprised and disappointed lack of iPad support with a horizontal layout. Makes playing on an iPad pretty tough. Virtually every case is designed to support the iPad in a horizontal position. As I play almost all games on my iPad, not my iPhone, I'm glad I realized this before plunking down the $10. Maybe they'll add in a future update.
    The game is not designed for landscape mode on the iPhone either.  It is designed for one-handed play while holding your iPhone in portrait mode.  So the iPad version is designed the same way, to be played in portrait mode, although you cannot hold the iPad with one hand like you can with a phone.  They wanted the game to be consistent on both devices.  So you will never see the game with landscape support.  That is not how they designed the game.  So if you don't like it, then delete it.
    So they completely misunderstood the iOS platform. Such a game can be best played in landscape mode. Kids always play games in landscape on the iPhone, their natural reflex is to grab the iPhone in landscape because of their small hands. A game that ignore kids has no chance of survival. Just another bad marketing decision from Apple. There are many super games in console/PC they could push to iOS but they've chosen that one.
  • Reply 19 of 32
    nhtnht Posts: 4,429member

    mike1 said:
    I was surprised and disappointed lack of iPad support with a horizontal layout. Makes playing on an iPad pretty tough. Virtually every case is designed to support the iPad in a horizontal position. As I play almost all games on my iPad, not my iPhone, I'm glad I realized this before plunking down the $10. Maybe they'll add in a future update.
    The game is not designed for landscape mode on the iPhone either.  It is designed for one-handed play while holding your iPhone in portrait mode.  So the iPad version is designed the same way, to be played in portrait mode, although you cannot hold the iPad with one hand like you can with a phone.  They wanted the game to be consistent on both devices.  So you will never see the game with landscape support.  That is not how they designed the game.  So if you don't like it, then delete it.
    So they completely misunderstood the iOS platform. Such a game can be best played in landscape mode. Kids always play games in landscape on the iPhone, their natural reflex is to grab the iPhone in landscape because of their small hands. A game that ignore kids has no chance of survival. Just another bad marketing decision from Apple. There are many super games in console/PC they could push to iOS but they've chosen that one.
    Estimates are $4-8M in sales thus far.  Unless Nintendo really screwed up it's not a $4M title to make so they made money.

    400-800K sales on 4-5M downloads is pretty decent numbers although the reviews seem pretty evenly split between 5 star review and 1 star reviews.

    I suspect that without the stupid internet requirement and more clear/more generous sharing options it would have done better and garnered less criticism.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 20 of 32
    jdwjdw Posts: 699member
    Why is it that no one is clearly naming this "persistent Internet connection" for what it really is? It's copy protection.  That age old thorn in the flesh has reared its ugly head again. Why hide that in both the article title and the article itself?  Is it politically incorrect these days to label it "copy protection"? 

    The fact remains that even if you pay $10 for this game, once you hop on an airplane or go to an area where you can't link to the Internet, you cannot play that $10 game anymore!  To some people that may not matter. But it should be more openly and plainly discussed in articles that cover the game. 
    jbdragon
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