Puzzle and Dragons (Free) is a big deal. Not so much in the US, where the game does sit in the 100s in top grossing games, but in Japan it’s the second top grossing game right now. Obviously, it’s free-to-play on mobile, but the game has a curious secondary existence: it’s been available on the 3DS in Japan as a retail game. And now it’s coming to the US in two different versions bundled as one: Puzzle and Dragons Z and Puzzle and Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition, coming in May.
These games are odd anomalies showing the popularity of this franchise in Japan: it’s big enough to have sold 1.5 million retail copies, and now GungHo is making a Mario version of it. It’ll be interesting to see how this does in the US – the franchise is much smaller here. But if it does well, it’d be fascinating to see if other free-to-play games decided to try full retail releases. Granted, Puzzle and Dragons Z is a bit more of an expanded experience on the mobile game, but could something like Clash of Clans (Free) work without the monetization? Would people be willing to pay $40 up front for Candy Crush Saga (Free)? This just reiterates that mobile gaming is really weird in how games are becoming popular and making money, it’s utterly revolutionary compared to much of gaming history. But the revolution hasn’t quite spread everywhere yet.
All I know is that, beyond all hope and rationality, I want that Mario Puzzle and Dragons to hit iOS.